When we prepare custom ServSafe MN classes for local food service managers, we often come across a question or topic normal food safety training fails to address. We recently received a question asking what the Minnesota Food Code says concerning serving raw milk to customers. A few different opinions state that pasteurization eradicates certain properties of raw milk, and there seems to be speculation among certain groups that raw milk provides health benefits that the milk on grocery store shelves does not.
What ServSafe MN Classes Have to Say about Raw Milk
First and foremost, we concern ourselves with the safety of food produced by restaurants, hospitality outlets and food processing facilities. We first look to the Minnesota Food Code and state law for a ruling on any subject. According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the law restricts the sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk for human consumption. For consumers wishing to purchase raw milk, they must purchase it directly from the farmer.
One of the major reasons that food safety professionals advise against consuming unpasteurized milk and raw dairy products is that there is a high-level of risk that it contains a bacterium known as Listeria. We often discuss the symptoms of Listeria poisoning in ServSafe MN classes, which can include vomiting, diarrhea, high fever and other flu-like symptoms. These symptoms become serious in a short period of time, and even become life threatening for those with compromised immune systems.
Some advocates of raw milk consumption claim that pasteurization reduces the nutritional value of milk and may be the cause of lactose intolerance and dairy allergies. According to the FDA, scientific evidence offers no support for these claims, and Listeria poisoning poses too great of a risk to your health to consume raw dairy products.
When it comes to your own personal health and the food you consume, you must make your own judgment as to what you put into your body, but as far as your restaurant or food production facility is concerned, both Minnesota law and the FDA agree that raw milk poses too big of a threat to be served to consumers. Many other food safety risks fly under the radar, and ServSafe MN classes can’t cover all topics. If you have any questions or concerns about any issue, feel free to leave us a comment, and we will attempt to address it in an upcoming article.