WELLINGTON, March 16 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is reminding consumers to take care when drinking raw unpasteurized milk as raw milk is a high-risk food.
"We have seen a number of recent recalls of raw milk and it's important that consumers remember and understand that there are risks with drinking raw milk," MPI director animal and animal products Paul Dansted said in a statement.
Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized (heat treated) to kill harmful bacteria. In 2014, the MPI put in place new rules which mean farmers selling raw milk need to meet food safety requirements but consumers still need to take care when drinking raw milk.
"Some people who drink raw milk may not always fully understand the risks and don't realize that there is the possibility of getting sick from the harmful bacteria in the milk," Dansted said.
Pregnant women, young children (particularly babies), the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems should not drink raw milk as they are at greatest risk of getting sick and the consequences for them can be more severe, and in some cases can lead to death, he said.
"People who choose to drink raw milk should make sure they are getting their milk directly from the farmer and are only buying it for personal and house hold consumption," he added.