Raw Milk vs. Pasteurized: This is What Happens When You Don’t Refrigerate It

After two weeks of no refrigeration, pasteurized milk is rancid and moldy, while raw milk becomes a healthy sour cream

Organic Pastures dairy farmer Mark McAfee shared photos of a experiment he did with raw and pasteurized milk on Facebook.

The owner of the California’s largest raw milk dairy, poured five types of milk into five sterilized mason jars, without fully tightening the lids, and let them sit out at room temperature for two weeks:

Having performed the experiment several times, he found exactly the results he was expecting:

1. Raw, Organic Whole Milk: NO mold

2. Pasteurized, Organic, Pasture-Raised, Whole Milk: Medium mold levels

3. Pasteurized, Conventional Whole Milk: Medium mold levels

4. Pasteurized, Conventional 2% Milk: HIGH mold levels

5. ULTRA Pasteurized 2% Milk: EXTREMELY HIGH mold levels
McAfee’s own raw, organic, whole milk, which is sold at health-food stores all over California, was not only not moldy, it was an edible, healthy product, similar to sour cream or yogurt and whey.

Both organic and conventional pasteurized whole milk had medium mold levels, while conventional 2% milk had more, and ultra-pasteurized 2% milk had the greatest amount of mold.
“I consistently see that ultra high temperature pasteurized milk goes bad fastest,” McAfee wrote on Facebook.

That’s because raw milk is a “living food with active ingredients,” McAfee explains. “Pasteurized milk is filled with dead bacteria, denatured proteins and destroyed enzymes.”

He notes that fermented raw milk products have been consumed without refrigeration for millennia.

On the other hand, when pasteurized or “dead” milk is allowed to “grow” in a warm environment, mold and “other strange things appear,” he says.

“Would you want to consume a product that is not going to thrive inside your warm body?” McAfee asks.






38 responses to “Raw Milk vs. Pasteurized: This is What Happens When You Don’t Refrigerate It”

  1. Cathy Fortin Avatar
    Cathy Fortin

    I am so happy to have found a source of raw milk. I love it when the milk is still warm when I get to the farm to pick it up. So yummy!

    1. Sharon Avatar

      I wish I could buy raw milk. I grew up on a dairy farm, and we never bought milk. Store bought milk tastes nothing like it.

  2. Ben Y. Avatar
    Ben Y.

    Fascinating. I’m a dairy farmer and I love raw milk. The taste is so much fresher and I wish everyone could buy it. In Virginia it’s illegal to sell it raw. The government wants to keep people safe, but that, unfortunately, can keep people from the best.

    There’s a major problem with the test. This test is really about homogenized versus non-homogenized milk. The cream on the top of the raw milk acts as a barrier for the more fragile milk. Cream is mostly made up of fats that are harder for bacteria and molds to break down. Milk has lactose and other sugars that bacteria and molds love and break down quickly and easily. For example, pasteurized butter can sit out for weeks and not go bad. The raw cream helps preserve the milk in this test. Try skimming the raw milk and then see what happens.

    The other major problem is to say that in vitro tests equate to in vivo results. Putting a jar on the counter is nothing like consuming it. Just because you see a product behave a certain way on the counter doesn’t mean it behaves even slightly like that in the body.

    1. Kristina Avatar

      ^This guy gets it! Well put, Ben Y!

    2. Cynthia B. Avatar
      Cynthia B.

      Wow! Thanks for that detailed information. I have a lot to learn.

    3. Lauren Avatar

      In actually, what this is proof of is bacterial cultures. Lactobacillus is present in the raw milk, which feeds off lactose and produces acids as waste, similar to how your body processes glucose to produce energy during exercise and produces lactic acid in your muscles. (This is a simplistic example) The acids produced change the pH of the milk, which inhibits colonization of other bacteria and molds present in the environment. This is what makes creme fraiche sour.(Which is actually what this is… not sour cream)
      Pasteurization kills off the microbes already present in the milk, which allows for colonization by any microbes present in the environment.

    4. Gia Avatar

      Thank you for an excellent analysis

  3. Luiz Pereira Avatar
    Luiz Pereira

    I highly agree. I would say that this is not an experiment in itself. It is what really happens. I ate that yogurt like product made from raw milk for many years in my home country. I also drank milk right from a cow for decades. Now, living in Canada, I don’t have access to raw milk because law doesn’t allow it. I have tried many times to make sour cream from pasteurized milk just leaving the milk sitting outside the fridge and what I get is a rubber like consistency curd, separated from whey and very bitter instead of sour. What is wrong with this Milk? Not enough, I also tried the same thing with pasteurized, non homogenized whole milk and final result is the same. Milk I use the most is 1%. I wish politicians in Canada revoke this non sense law.

  4. James Cooper Avatar

    But the bacteria in that raw milk would make it a death trap. I noticed they didn’t measure the tyiedyod bacteria present.

    1. Jennifer Fisk Avatar
      Jennifer Fisk

      If the bacteria in raw milk is a death trap, I shouldn’t have gotten out of babyhood much less made it to 72. Seriously, raw milk from healthy clean cows is not dangerous.

      1. Ethan Avatar

        Raw milk is great, two week old raw milk that has turned into sour cream on its own….

  5. Freddie L Jacobs Avatar
    Freddie L Jacobs

    What person in their right mind, in this day and age, would not refrigerate any form of milk??

    1. rachael r Avatar
      rachael r

      Because natural products that arnt pasteurized don’t need it.
      Same with eggs.

  6. Rajul Avatar

    I belive Raw Milk is the best way to drink after you boil them for once.

  7. Elishka Avatar

    Thank you!

    After having this hysterical view of the milk pushed on our nation, it’s maddening trying to have an intellectual and science based dialogue about clean raw milk.

    More illness comes from our industrial agriculture farming.

    Don’t eat the lettuce…oy

  8. Laura Avatar

    Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. First developed by Louis Pasteur in 1864, pasteurization kills harmful organisms responsible for such diseases as listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and brucellosis

    1. Cat Avatar

      Kills ALL bacteria though. Both the good and bad.

    2. Alta Avatar

      That’s what my mom use to tell us…about raw milk…i could never get use to the taste…but loved the butter it made…and used the cream off the top for creamer…the best taste

  9. Carrie Landwehr-Otto Avatar
    Carrie Landwehr-Otto

    What about conventional raw milk?

    1. j Avatar

      Bad idea. Conventional raw milk is laden with nastiness such as puss from infected udders and various bacteria.

  10. Lynne Avatar

    Very interesting. I strongly prefer raw milk.
    My question is, what happens to milk in stomach acids and enzymes
    Thank you

  11. Jules Nelson Avatar
    Jules Nelson

    I feel I don’t feel as healthy consuming dairy, although I live it. My usual was organic homogenized milk from the grocery store. Now I’ve been drinking unsweetened organic coconut milk.

  12. Michael Avatar

    Sample size of one = weak experimental design. Each treatment needs to be replicated many more times. Otherwise, great. My in-laws buy raw milk (in the grocery store) where they live in France all the time and they’re fine.

    1. Kj Avatar

      Read the article again. He said he performed the tests multiple times (just didn’t specify the number).

  13. Mel Avatar

    We were able to buy raw milk for awhile from a local dairy.
    Said something about it from my mom and she got hysterical because she caught undulant fever as a child from raw milk and ended up in bed for a year.
    We could not convince her these cows were healthy and the cow she knew was sick.

  14. Hans Verbeek Avatar
    Hans Verbeek

    The sample size is way too small for any sort of statistical relevance. Let alone with the randomness of uncontrolled bacterial and fungus infection, the lack of separation (the bacteria from the unpasteurized milk can have infected the pasteurized milk) and the lack of a clean testing environment.

    A badly done experiment doesn’t deserve this kind of attention.

  15. Carole Avatar

    Anyone tell me how long I can keep fresh unwashed eggs without refrigeration please

    1. Elizabeth Avatar

      At least 3 weeks if not longer. 21 days is the incubation time, so they will last at least that long

  16. Jim Avatar

    To me this proves just the opposite. Beware of all foods that don’t spoil.

    1. Kj Avatar

      Foods spoil because of BAD bacteria.

  17. Tony Avatar

    UHT milk “if not opened, has a typical unrefrigerated shelf life of six to nine months” Wikipedia. This stuff should not even be called “milk”.

  18. Enzo Avatar

    I see this article as a thought provoking article that I can look further into. After reading all the confusing lot from “reply’s”, my suggestion to these critics is not to drink or eat anything just in-case you may get sick from it. You may starve to death, but at least you will not catch any nasties that could harm you. my other suggestion is to get a life.

  19. Carleen Avatar

    We dropped our milk down the well in a milk can never lasted long enough to spoil

  20. CinC Avatar

    Everyone here is talking about raw milk from clean heathy cows. I have yet to here one person tell me where these clean healy cows would be found. Because what I see in the US is animal abuse. We have two dariy producer in my own town that had to be take over because of the animal abuse. I wouldnt trust them for milk. I will stick with my store bought fat free milk. I love it.

  21. Tsdaveyan Avatar

    That raw is looking pretty moldy to me. It still has coloration. Bleh. Chunky sludge. I have had whole milk and found it turned chunky quickly. Sorry, any milk is not something i much like these days.

  22. Carola Adolf Avatar
    Carola Adolf

    I have seen bobby calves, hours old shipped off to the knackery because their screaming mums were suppose to make cow milk for humans. Drink your own species’ milk, for god sakes…. more breast feeding human mothers to the rescue!!!!!!!!!!! Otherwise grow up.

  23. Marcy misner Avatar
    Marcy misner

    I’d be curious to know if raw milk lasts longer in the fridge than pasteurized. If it stays fresh longer before it eventually turned into creme fraiche.

  24. Robert Haile Avatar
    Robert Haile

    Of the six major infections from milk, 5 are bacterial and one is a parasite, not mold. For this article to have validity, bacterial cultures should have been done as well as examination for cryptosporidium. In addition, tuberculosis can be contracted from drinking raw milk as well.