Six recent cases of serious illness, including two deaths, linked to listeria originating in cheese made with raw milk has raised concerns again about whether raw milk is safe to consume. However, raw cheese advocates insist that the health benefits of unpasteurized milk far outweigh the risk of contamination.

So far, six people have become seriously ill with listeria food poisoning infections, two of whom died, after consuming soft raw-milk cheese made by Vulto Creamery in Walton, New York, Buzzfeed News reported. The cheese has now been recalled, and although the specific batch was distributed nationwide, most were sold in the Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states, as well as California, Chicago, Portland, and Washington, DC. Listeria, a type of food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, is more likely to occur when eating raw unpasteurized milk. Due to this, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recommended that consumers stay away from raw milk and raw milk products.

Read: Raw Milk Causing Outbreak of Illnesses In Alaska

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not undergone pasteurization meant to kill potentially harmful bacteria. During pasteurization, milk is heated for a set period of time in an effort to kill microorganisms. In addition to listeria, unpasteurized milk can also harbor Salmonella and E.coli, the FDA reports.

Raw milk advocates argue that the process of pasteurization compromises milk’s flavor and nutritional value, Quartz reported. In addition, according to Oldways Cheese Coalition, a group advocating consumers’ right to choose how their milk is processed, pasteurization may also destroy the probiotics in milk and milk products that promote a healthy gut. However, the FDA argue that there is no “meaningful difference in nutritional values of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk.”

Listeria is a particularly unpleasant bacterial infection. According to WebMD, common symptoms of listeria food poisoning include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea. Unfortunately in some cases, the infection can be even more serious, causing symptoms such as confusion, convulsions, and even death. The infection is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, as it can also lead to miscarriage, fetal death or illness, or death of a newborn.

In addition to listeria, raw milk is also linked to campylobacteriosis, a bacterial infection that causes cramping, abdominal pain, and fever. Just like listeria, Campylobacteriosis can also cause more serious complications, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 76 people die from this form of food poisoning each year.

See Also:

What Is Raw Milk? Health Officials Issue Warning After At Least 20 People Sickened

Drug Residue In Milk? FDA Considers Expanding Tests For Dairy Products