Interest in consuming unprocessed foods has led to assumptions that raw milk has health benefits over pasteurized milk. This study was designed to evaluate the belief that raw milk is nutritionally superior. Eighteen mice were randomly assigned to one of two groups: raw milk or pasteurized milk. Mice were grouped into breeding trios and given a fresh supply of milk every four hours between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. for 55 days. Milk consumption was tracked at each feeding by measuring the amount of milk that was provided and the amount of milk that was left from the previous feeding. The College of St. Benedict Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approved this study.
On average, the mice in the raw milk group consumed significantly less milk but gained the same amount of weight as the pasteurized milk group. The rate of growth per gram of milk consumed was greater in the raw milk group, but the difference did not reach statistical significance. Lastly, there was no statistical difference between the groups with regard to birth rates or pup mortality rates.
Due to the limited number of mice, the positive trend in data did not reach statistical significance. A similar study done on a larger scale could produce significant results. In conclusion, this study does not demonstrate that either milk type is statistically superior in nutritional value.
Sholing, Kari; Ganong, Lindsay; and Olson, Amy, "What are the Effects of Raw vs. Pasteurized Milk Consumption on Growth Rate and Fertility in a Colony of Mice?" (2011). Nutrition Student Work. Paper 2.