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A glass of cow's milk
Dairy cow grazing

Milk is a white, cloudy emulsion or colloidal dispersion of proteins , milk sugar and milk fat in water . Humans use the milk of many domesticated animals as food , especially as a drink . It is formed in the mammary glands of mammals , which use it to nourish their newborns.

Definition and legal basis


In Germany, milk or raw milk is the udder secretion obtained from " milking once or several times a day from cows raised for milk production " (Section 2 of the Milk Ordinance). If milk from other mammals is used for production, it must be labeled accordingly. The Food and Feed Code (LFGB) and a milk product ordinance apply there .


In Switzerland, milk is "the whole milk of one or more animals of the mammalian species ... that are regularly milked." ( Art. 32 Para. 1 VLtH ), whereby only the following can be considered as "mammal species": "Domesticated ungulates of the zoological families Horned bearers (Bovidae), deer (Cervidae), camels (Camelidae), pigs (Suidae) and horses (Equidae) ”( Art. 2 Para. 1 VLtH ).

In the milk trade, the animal species must be indicated, unless it is cow's milk ( Art. 36 Para. 2 VLtH ).

The previous regulation that the entire amount of milk (milk) of a dairy cow must be milked no longer applies in July 2020, so that milk from suckler cow husbandry can also be legally marketed.

European Union

In trade within the European Union , only milk from cows may be referred to as "milk". In the case of milk from other mammals, the animal species must also be specified (for example goat milk , sheep milk , horse milk or mare milk , donkey milk , yak milk , camel milk , buffalo milk ). Accordingly, soy beverages are not listed as “ soy milk ” in the trade .

In the EU there are numerous regulations related to milk, such as: B. the milk regulation, the milk quality regulation and the EU food hygiene regulation .


Hortus sanitatis , Mainz 1491. Illustration for the chapter Lac - milk

The noun milk , like whey and the associated verb milking , are Germanic common property (Swedish. Mjölk , Danish. Mælk , Dutch. Melk , English. Milk , Icelandic. Mjólk , etc.). Old High German miluh (8th century) changes to Middle High German milich, milk . The technical plural form is Milche or Milchen .

"Milk" is the general name for a nutrient fluid that in mammals (mammals) of female individuals after pregnancy through glands of the milk ridges over nipples or teats on breasts (mammals) or udders to the suckling offspring ( infants ) as (initially only) Food is provided.

In German, the term “milk” is primarily used as a synonym for cow's milk . Human milk , on the other hand , is distinguished explicitly as breast milk .


The development of the dairy industry began in the course of the so-called Neolithic Revolution with the domestication of goats and sheep , around 10,000 years ago, in Western Asia and elsewhere, and with the domestication of aurochs (Ur) around 8,500 years ago, especially in Southeast Europe.

For the food industry in Europe, dairy cows are the main supplier, in the mountains, low-yield areas and in earlier times also the sheep ( sheep's milk ) and goats ( goat's milk ). For drinking milk, humans also milk domestic horses ( mare's milk ) and house donkeys ( donkey's milk ), yaks in western China / Tibet, and sometimes llamas in the Andes of South America (rare). In the far north, reindeer milk is also used; in Asia and Italy for cheese production (Mozzarella di Bufala), water buffalo are milked and buffalo milk is obtained; In the Arab world, in addition to goat and sheep milk, milk from camels is consumed. Mouse milk is obtained solely for experimental purposes.

In some cultures, which mostly of shepherds and nomads emerged, is the dairy animal attitude, milk and its products (such as cheese , yogurt ) at the center of nutrition and thus also of life. It is similar in the western world. On the other hand, there are also peoples who do not use any milk other than breast milk.

The water consumption is around 738 liters per liter of milk.


Vorzugsmilch Rohmilch Fettarme Milch Frische Vollmilch Rahm Sauerrahm Kondenssahne Buttermilch Milchpulver Kondenssahne fettarme H-Milch Sahne Butter Butterschmalz Magermilch Kondensmagermilch Magermilchpulver Molkepulver Sahnejoghurt Joghurt Kefir Quark Schmelzkäse Mascarpone Frischkäse Sauermolke Molkenbutter Crème fraîche Kaffeesahne Crème double Schmand Saure Sahne Sauerrahmbutter Sauermilchkäse Hartkäse Kochkäse Milchflüssigkeit Schnittkäse Mildgesäuerte Butter Süßmolke Teilentrahmte Kondensmilch Weichkäse Geklärte Butter Schlagsahne Pasteurisierte Milch Brühkäse Dickmilch Salzlakenkäse Dickete Molkenkäse Magere Rohmilch H-Vollmilch Sterilmilch Bloghurt / Joghurt mild ESL-Milch Milchprodukte Datei:Milch.svgMilks and products
About this picture

The manufacturing process of numerous dairy products , known as refinement , can be understood as a controlled "spoilage", since it is mainly lactic acid bacteria belonging to the original milk flora that have an effect here. The same applies to the addition of rennet , which causes the milk - similar to the soured milk - to coagulate .

The processing facilities are called dairies (and in earlier times also dairies ) or cheese factories ; typical products are cream, butter and buttermilk , cheese, and sour milk .

Milk raw materials (derivatives for further processing) include milk powder, whey powder (ice cream production, additives to other foods), lactose (milk sugar) and the like in food production, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, etc., casein as an adhesive substance in numerous industries.

The food industry processes the milk in numerous forms and diverse products (product group: dairy products ), from butter, cream, the cheese-making to baked goods or ice cream making, as well as derivatives of use in the meat processing or in the finished food production to towards pharmacy and cosmetics (milk raw materials) .

Economical meaning

The greatest producers

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, 683 million tons of cow's milk were produced worldwide in 2018 . The following table gives an overview of the 20 largest producers of cow's milk worldwide, which produced a total of 75.0% of the total. This table also contains the figures for Switzerland and Austria for comparison:

The largest cow milk producers worldwide (2018)
rank country Quantity
(in t )
rank country Quantity
(in t)
1 United StatesUnited States United States 98,690,477 13 MexicoMexico Mexico 12,005,692
2 IndiaIndia India 89,833,590 14th ItalyItaly Italy 11,944,450
3 BrazilBrazil Brazil 33,839,864 15th NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 10,634,163
4th GermanyGermany Germany 33,064,833 16 ArgentinaArgentina Argentina 10,526,600
5 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 30,745,600 17th UzbekistanUzbekistan Uzbekistan 10,415,660
6th RussiaRussia Russia 30,345,525 18th UkraineUkraine Ukraine 10,064,000
7th FranceFrance France 25,541,269 19th AustraliaAustralia Australia 9,289,000
8th New ZealandNew Zealand New Zealand 25,541,269 20th IrelandIreland Ireland 7,810,260
9 TurkeyTurkey Turkey 20,036,877 ...
10 PakistanPakistan Pakistan 16,722,000 30th SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 3,912,100
11 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 15,311,000 31 AustriaAustria Austria 3,821,193
12 PolandPoland Poland 14,171,153
world 683.217.057

Around 220 million tons of cow's milk were produced in Europe in 2018. The largest producers were Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

The largest single milk producer in the world was the Saudi Arabian food manufacturer Almarai , with the ten largest milk producers producing 1.1% of the world's milk.

Sign for a milk pump room near Wasserauen

Industrialization of milk production and the consequences for dairy cows

Cows bred for milk production give around 50 liters of milk per day. The original cow, on the other hand, gave almost 10 percent of it with up to five liters. The milk yield has increased from 500–600 kg per year to 6,000–10,000 kg per cow today.

This increase is due to breeding and research in order to permanently optimize milk yield. Pure dairy cow breeds emerged from this breed. Diet also plays a role: in nature, cows eat grass and clover , while dairy cows nowadays mostly receive concentrated feed. In some cases, corn silage , grain or soy are still fed, but increasingly also animal feed made from skimmed milk and whey powder and fats . In the European Union , additional animal meal was banned after the BSE scandal in 1999.

The weight of the cow has also increased by around 400 kg as a result of the breeding and feeding measures.

Per capita consumption

Advertisement from 1932 for accident prevention from the official gazette of the Reichsbahndirektion Mainz

In 2013, the top per capita consumption of whole milk was Kazakhstan with 258.44 kg, New Zealand butter with 9.25 kg and Iceland cheese with 30.82 kg per capita per year.

Milk consumption worldwide (2013)
in kilograms per capita and year
country milk butter cheese
AustraliaAustralia Australia 123.78 3.67 10.17
AustriaAustria Austria 15.83 5.54 23.29
GermanyGermany Germany 70.64 5.16 21.69
FranceFrance France 40.51 7.98 23.66
ItalyItaly Italy 29.78 2.84 23.11
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 108.26 5.60 19.79
United StatesUnited States United States 104.15 2.13 15.77
Average world 59.17 1.28 5.12

In Switzerland, the per capita consumption of milk fell by almost 22 kilograms or more than a quarter between 2004 and 2015. In 2017, per capita consumption fell further to 51.8 kilograms. From 2013 to 2018, per capita consumption decreased by a total of 6.9%. In Germany and Holland, too, less and less milk is drunk.

Structural formula of β- D -lactose, the most important saccharide (sugar) in cow's milk.


The division into trade classes is based on the milk quality regulation in Germany . The criteria include the total bacterial count (low values indicate industrial hygiene and good animal health), protein and fat content, freezing point (deviations indicate stretching with water) and inhibitors such as antibiotics , which hinder the further processing of the milk into yoghurt or cheese and stop the delivery Farmer lead.

The energy content of the digestible components of fresh whole milk is 272 kJ (65 kcal) per 100 g. The density of cow's milk depends on the temperature; for homogenized and pasteurized fresh whole milk containing 3.5% fat at a temperature of 20 ° C. it is approximately 1.032 g / cm³.

Approximate composition of the milk of different mammals (in percent)
ingredients human cow sheep goat horse buffalo
water 87.2 87.5 82.7 86.6 90.1 82.8
carbohydrates 7.0 4.8 6.3 3.9 5.9 5.5
Milk fat 4.0 <4.2 5.3 3.7 1.5 7.4
Egg whites 1.5 3.5 4.6 4.2 2.1 3.6
Trace elements 0.3 0.7 0.9 0.8 0.4


Manual extraction by milking the udder of a dairy cow in Poland (1935)

In milk, carbohydrates , proteins , vitamins and trace elements are dissolved in the water, and milk fat is emulsified in the water. The proportions of the individual ingredients, however, differ from animal species to animal species. In animal species that have a very energy-intensive metabolism, milk is particularly rich in fats, proteins and carbohydrates. This includes B. the milk of whales and polar bears . Within a species, feeding, husbandry, lactation time as well as the health status and age of the animals also influence the composition of the milk. So z. B. a grassland-based feeding to an increase in polyunsaturated fatty acids and there is an advantageous omega-6 to omega-3 ratio . The most common proteins, which make up about 80% of the total amount of protein, are the caseins . The other proteins are also grouped together as whey proteins . Under the designation whey proteins summarizes is beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, serum albumin , immunoglobulin and Proteose peptone together. The development of a skin on the surface observed when milk is boiled for a long time is caused by the heat-induced denaturation of albumin.

The most important carbohydrate in milk is lactose (4.6% in cow's milk), it also contains galactose , glucose and traces of other carbohydrates. The pH value of milk varies between 6.7 for fresh milk to around 4.5 for sour milk.

Fat content

The natural fat content of cow's milk is around 4.2%. To adjust the fat content, the milk is first separated into cream, skimmed milk and non-milk components in a milk centrifuge (also called a separator) developed by Wilhelm Lefeldt for this purpose. Due to centrifugal and centripetal forces, these three components are arranged with increasing density from the inside to the outside as follows: cream (inside; density of pure milk fat: 0.93 kg / dm³), skimmed milk (center; density 1.035–1.038 kg / dm³) , Non-dairy ingredients (outside due to the highest density). The non-dairy components are collected outside in the separator as centrifuge sludge and removed after a certain time when the drum is partially emptied. The fat content of the skimmed milk can then be adjusted as required by adding cream. The fat content can be determined using the Weibull-Stoldt, Röse-Gottlieb or Gerber rapid test. In Germany, the procedures are defined as Paragraph 64 methods in the official collection of examination procedures.


Types of milk, classification according to fat content
designation Fat content annotation
Raw milk 3.5-5.0% Untreated milk may only be sold by the producer's farm or,
in Switzerland, also in cheese factories and dairies.
Preferred milk 3.5-4.0% like raw milk, but filtered and packaged commercially available
Whole milk min. 3.5% must be heat treated
low-fat milk ; in Switzerland: milk drink 1.5-1.8% must be heat treated
Skimmed milk , skimmed milk Max. 0.5% must be heat treated
Milk types, classification according to treatment and shelf life
designation treatment Duration Loss of vitamins Denaturation durability
Raw milk ( unpackaged from
or dairy )
cooling no at least 2–3 days, possibly much longer due to natural acidification
Preferred milk (packaged) Filtration, cooling no
Pasteurized milk , pasta milk or
"fresh milk / fresh whole milk, traditionally produced"
Continuous heating (62–) 63–65 ° C 30 min. 5-15% medium refrigerated and unopened at least 4 days up to 10 days; open 2–4 days
Short-term heating (71–) 72 (–75) ° C 15-30 (-45) sec. 5-15% medium
High temperature 85 (-90) -127 ° C 8-15 sec. 5-15% medium
ESL milk (“extended shelf life”) fresh milk with a longer shelf life;
in Switzerland: Hoch-Past
Pasteurization 123–127 ° C, alternatively separate micro-
filtration of skimmed milk and heating of the cream to 72–75 ° C with subsequent re-mixing
10-30% medium to strong refrigerated, unopened about 3 weeks; open 2–4 days
UHT milk (ultra-high temperature milk)
In Switzerland: UHT milk , also referred to as superised milk
Ultra high temperature 135-150 ° C
at least 2 seconds, mostly 4 seconds 5-20% strong Unrefrigerated, unopened at least 6–8 weeks
Sterile milk Sterilization in the packaging at 107–115 or 130 ° C 20–30 or 12 min. 20-100% strong Unrefrigerated, unopened for up to a year
boiled milk Cooking 100 ° C 10-30% medium

Names such as Landmilch with z. B. 3.8% fat content, hay milk etc. are not regulated names. Milk products or milk- producing businesses are also often named after the region from which they mainly come, for example Gmundner Milch or Berchtesgadener Milch .

Farm milk is raw milk that consumers receive directly from the dairy farm.

For lactose-free milk , the fat content is not standardized in their preparation is lactose enzymatically into glucose and galactose split (see intolerance ).

In agricultural production is called fat-corrected milk (FCM, English fat corrected milk ) when have these 4 percent fat.


Both fresh milk and concentrated milk products such as condensed milk or coffee cream can be preserved by heating. Although sour milk products do not need to be preserved, they are mostly made from pasteurized milk in order to suppress the growth of undesirable bacterial strains and yeasts.

Different methods of heat treatment:

  • With pasteurization today is mostly short-term heating meant. Usual variants:
    • Continuous heating : The milk is heated to 62 ° C to 65 ° C for 15 to 30 minutes. Seldom used today.
    • Short-term heating: the milk is heated to 72 ° C to 75 ° C for 15 to 30 seconds; Shelf life when stored in a cool place is 10 days maximum. For a long time, short-term heating was the standard method for pasteurizing milk. Since the introduction of ESL milk, milk treated in this way has been referred to in the trade as "traditionally produced fresh milk".
    • High temperature: The milk is heated to 85 ° C to 127 ° C for a few seconds until the enzyme peroxidase can no longer be detected. This procedure is rarely used today.
  • Hochpasteurisierung for ESL milk ( English life extended shelf, longer shelf life on the shelf '): The milk is heated for two seconds at 127 ° C and then immediately cooled to 90 ° C. After a few seconds at 90 ° C, the milk is cooled to storage temperature; Stable for about 20 days at 7 ° C.
  • Microfiltration : together with classic pasteurization, also leads to ESL milk.
  • Ultra high temperature (UHT milk, UHT milk ): The milk is heated to at least 135 ° C for two to eight seconds; Unopened long-life milk can be kept for at least three months at room temperature.
  • Sterilization (sterile milk): The milk is sterilized by heating it to 110 ° C to 120 ° C for 20 to 30 minutes. This milk can be kept for at least six months at room temperature.

The shelf life always refers to the unopened milk pack filled by the dairy. After first use, long-life milk should also be stored in the refrigerator and should be used within a few days. Depending on the refrigerator temperature, the shelf life can be significantly extended even when the refrigerator is open. Lowering the refrigerator temperature from 7 ° C to 5 ° C can extend the microbial stability by a few days.

The effects of preservation processes on the vitamin content of milk are different: studies found reduced levels of vitamins B1, B12, E and folic acid after pasteurization. The vitamin B6 content remained unchanged; In the case of vitamin A, the content increased after pasteurization. If vitamin losses occur, these are less than 10% after pasteurization. The loss of vitamins through the production of ESL milk averages 10%. The ultra high temperature results in a loss of about 20% of the vitamin B12; the loss of vitamin B1, C and folic acid is 10%. Vitamin B1 and B6 can be lost due to storage. The extent depends on the storage temperature and the heating technology used (directly by means of steam injection or indirectly), in the case of directly heated UHT milk or ESL milk, it also depends on how thoroughly the milk was subsequently degassed. Sterilization means the greatest loss of vitamins, depending on the vitamin and storage period 20–100%. The loss of vitamins by simply boiling raw milk is 10–30%.

Another preservatives art of milk is the energy-intensive drying to milk powder or termination of the water (condensed milk). Milk powder is used, for example, in the chocolate industry, in the manufacture of baby food, in parenteral nutrition or as rearing feed for calves.

In the case of raw milk or milk that has only been subjected to a thermal treatment step, the milk fat collects on the surface after some time and forms a layer of cream . Homogenization prevents this by reducing the size of the fat droplets to less than 1 µm in diameter and so, for physical reasons, creaming only takes place over a very long period of time.


Small fat droplets in homogenized milk

The aim of the homogenization is to reduce the mean diameter of the fat globules present in the milk (mean diameter of the native globules 10 to 30 µm) under high pressure (150 to 300 bar ) (mean drop diameter 1 to 2 µm) so that the milk is not creamed and can be digested more easily because of the increased surface area. The increased overall surface area also ensures a different taste. This “crushing” of the fat droplets takes place industrially on a large scale. To do this, the milk is squirted onto a metal plate under high pressure. Forces effective in the homogenizer are shear / expansion forces, impact currents, but mainly cavitation . From a physical point of view, milk that has been treated in this way can still cream, but the time required for visible creaming increases very sharply, so that, in simplified terms, one speaks of “creaming stability” in terms of product life. However, homogenization alone does not mean that the milk has a longer shelf life from a microbial point of view.

Milk substitute

Milk substitutes or milk substitute products are foods that are similar to milk (or milk products) in terms of taste, appearance and fat or protein content, without being made from it. These are usually obtained from plant-based products, such as grain and soy milk .

Health aspects of milk consumption

100 ml milk contains 120 mg calcium . Milk also contains many essential amino acids that are required for the body's cell structure. The proportion of calcium is higher in cheese. The Nurses' Health Study showed, however, that increased milk consumption tends to prevent fractures at best . Calcium cannot be absorbed from milk in isolation ; vitamin D is required for this, which milk does not contain in sufficient quantities. A meta-analysis of six prospectively examined cohorts published in 2005 found that low milk consumption (less than one glass a day) was not associated with a significant increase in the risk of fractures .

Michael de Vrese from the Max Rubner Institute stated in 2006 that "[...] the benefits of milk consumption exceed [...] the possible risks [...]." It is proven that an adequate milk consumption osteoporosis , high blood pressure , heart attack and obesity forward bending . In 2018, a cohort study confirmed the influence of daily milk consumption (for milk and yoghurt) on the reduced incidence of cardiovascular diseases . On the other hand, no significance was found for the consumption of cheese and, due to the low intake, also not for butter.

A study by the University of Copenhagen in 2007 showed that the calcium in milk or other cofactors in dairy products reduces the amount of fat in the blood after meals. Thereafter, the amount of blood fat in individuals who receive calcium from milk products to 15-19% lower than in control subjects, the calcium on the calcium supplements record.

An overview from 2020 concludes that milk consumption does not reduce the likelihood of fractures. Weight loss cannot be associated with milk consumption either.


The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) sees cow's milk as one of the “most important allergy-causing foods in childhood” (alongside chicken eggs, fish, soy, wheat and peanuts / nuts). If there is a familial tendency ( atopy ), a food allergy could lead to neurodermatitis , hay fever and bronchial asthma . Among other things, cow's milk is an important allergenic food for adults . However, allergic reactions to hen's eggs and cow's milk often disappear in the first few years of life. The institute recommends that regardless of a possible hereditary disposition , breastfeeding for at least the first 4–6 months of life and not giving cow's milk (or other complementary foods). If there is an allergy to the whey proteins α-lactalbumin or β-lactoglobulin, heat treatment can help to make the milk tolerable for the allergy sufferer.

Drug residues

Milk can be affected by residues of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Since veterinary drugs are allowed in animal husbandry, waiting times must be observed so that the animals excrete most of the animals before their products reach the consumer. To protect the consumer from side effects (such as causing cancer or genetic damage ), maximum residue levels apply . The milk produced is randomly checked for certain residues.

In Germany, a sample is taken for every 15,000 tons of milk; for 2005 there were 1,834 samples. In 2005, milk had to be tested for at least 45 substances in the member states of the EU. In Germany, however, this requirement of the EU Commission goes well beyond this: In 2004, 351 substances were tested here. In the years between 1998 and 2003, an average of 0.1 percent of the milk samples examined in Germany had residues that were inadmissible or that exceeded a defined maximum amount. The laboratories of the federal states mainly found the antibiotic chloramphenicol, which is banned in animal husbandry, and phenylbutazone , an unapproved anti-inflammatory agent. In Germany, the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) sets specific requirements for each federal state on the number of animals to be examined or animal products, the substances to be examined, the methodology to be used and the sampling. The authorities for food monitoring carry out targeted samples at companies that are suspected of treating animals with prohibited substances or that veterinary medicinal products are not used properly.


In the mid-1980s, epidemiological data indicated a connection between regional cow's milk consumption and the incidence of type 1 diabetes : In Japan , in the mid-1980s, there were fewer than two children for every 100,000 people who developed type 1 diabetes every year fell ill (per capita consumption at the time: 38 liters per year). In Finland there were 29 children per 100,000 population (per capita consumption at the time: 229 liters per year). In 1992, Finnish and Canadian scientists found antibodies against a component of milk protein that is similar to the natural protein p69 in the blood samples of several hundred children who were newly diagnosed with diabetes. They hypothesized that in babies who are genetically susceptible to diabetes and who drink cow's milk before the age of five or six months, the immune system mistakenly attacks the natural protein with any virus infection, which can damage the pancreas.

Hubert Kolb, immunobiologist at the German Diabetes Center , made observations in 2004 that contradict a diabetogenic effect of cow's milk proteins. He referred to data which, in his opinion, speak against the fact that cow's milk proteins have a specific effect on the development of type 1 diabetes:

  1. Our own studies, according to which antibodies against various cow's milk proteins also occur in rheumatoid arthritis .
  2. First prospective observational studies on small groups of infants (from birth) that show no relationship between the harbingers of type 1 diabetes (islet cell autoantibodies) and the length of breastfeeding or the start of a cow's milk-based infant formula.
  3. Animal experiments in which, in addition to cow's milk, many other proteins, including vegetable ones, are diabetogenic.

In summary, Kolb does not consider the available data to be sufficient to prove that cow's milk has a particularly strong effect on other animal and vegetable proteins.

Since 2002, a Finnish research group has been investigating the suspicion as part of the TRIGR study (“Trial to Reduce IDDM in the Genetically at Risk”). For this comparative study, the researchers recruited babies who had a first-degree relative (parents or siblings) with type 1 diabetes and who were at some genetic risk. The infants were randomly divided into two groups, which differed in terms of the follow-on formula after weaning. One group was fed a highly hydrolyzed baby food that no longer contained intact cow's milk protein ( casein ). The other group received conventional milk formula based on cow's milk. The analysis included data from 2,159 children who were observed up to an age of ten years. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups with regard to the risk of disease. The study published in 2018 was therefore unable to substantiate the suspicion that cow's milk proteins in baby food increase the risk of type 1 diabetes. The authors see no need to revise the dietary recommendations for children at an increased risk of type 1 diabetes.

Germ load

Raw milk is largely untreated, only filtered milk and, depending on the hygienic conditions, can be contaminated with pathogens from the udder onwards . When consumed, these can be transmitted to humans and cause infectious diseases such as salmonellosis , Campylobacter enteritis , staphylococcal infections, listeriosis , brucellosis , intestinal tuberculosis , Brainerd diarrhea or enterohaemorrhagic colitis . In the European Union, special hygiene regulations apply to the manufacture and sale of raw milk and raw milk products , which are intended to minimize the risk of infection .

There is no scientific evidence of health or nutritional benefits of raw milk. With the exception of the occurrence of staphylococcal enterotoxins , the microbiological hazards can be practically eliminated by pasteurization or ultra-high-temperature heating . Only in the case of errors in the technology of the heat treatment or due to subsequent recontamination can pasteurized milk also trigger infections. However, these accidents are exceptional in modern dairy technology.


Milk and many dairy products contain high amounts of calcium . Two prospective cohort studies showed that the consumption of calcium doses> 2000 mg per day (which corresponds to about two liters of milk) is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer . Two other prospective cohort studies found no association for calcium doses of 1330 and 1840 mg per day. A deficient production of vitamin D 3 is suspected as the background for the increased risk . High calcium intake decreases the body's own cholecalciferol production, and preclinical studies have shown several potentially beneficial effects of the vitamin on prostate cancer. Sun u. a. In 2005 found five of nine prospective studies in a review article that established a connection between the consumption of dairy products and the risk of prostate cancer. It is unclear to what extent calcium consumption in relation to fat consumption from milk and dairy products contributes to the risk. A meta-analysis by Gao et al. a. came to the conclusion in 2005 that the high intake of dairy products and calcium could be linked to a slightly increased risk of prostate cancer. According to Severi et al. a. however, to “relatively weak statistical evidence” and a “very small effect size”. In addition, the critics of the meta-analysis were able to provide study data that did not support the conclusion of Gao et al. a. fit. According to the Harvard School of Public Health , one cannot be confident that high milk or calcium consumption is advisable. Scientists at the University of Hawaii believe that excessive consumption of low-fat dairy products increases the likelihood of developing prostate cancer. A joint evaluation by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research in 2007 found cow's milk likely to lower the risk of colon cancer . However, because of the evidence that very high (≥ 2 g) daily calcium doses may increase the risk of prostate cancer, the authors do not make any cancer-relevant recommendations regarding the consumption of cow's milk. In 2006 Michael de Vrese from the Max Rubner Institute came to the conclusion that the prostate cancer risk from milk consumption has not yet been conclusively assessed. In an overview comment from 2020, the authors assume an increased risk of prostate and uterine cancer.

Parkinson's Disease

Chen et al. a. investigated the relationship between food intake and the risk of Parkinson's in 2002 . They found a positive association between cow's milk intake and the risk of Parkinson's disease in men, but not in women. As a result of a further data analysis in 2007, there was an additional increase in risk for female consumers of dairy products, with the women under review being less affected by the increase in risk than men. The authors concluded from the data that the consumption of dairy products could increase the risk of Parkinson's, especially in men. However, further studies are needed to investigate the findings and the underlying mechanism. A Japanese control study in 2011 found no association between the consumption of dairy products and Parkinson's disease. The consumption of milk and dairy products is still under discussion as a possible etiological factor today (as of 2014). However, the explanation for the epidemiologically observed connection is still unknown. There is no scientific evidence that milk is a risk factor for Parkinson's disease. Restrictions on milk consumption with the aim of preventing the development or progression of Parkinson's disease are not recommended.


Worldwide distribution of lactose intolerance

There are intolerances to milk as a food and the products made from it. They are based on the fact that milk components cannot be broken down sufficiently in the body (due to lactose intolerance or milk protein intolerance ) or on the fact that other ingredients of milk are not tolerated. The ability to digest the lactose contained in milk as an adult is a genetically rather recent development and is estimated to be 8,000 to 9,000 years old. It probably first spread in northern and central Europe with or shortly after the beginning of the Neolithic there , when tolerability proved to be a positive selection criterion with the start of cattle breeding.

The enzyme lactase is required for the digestion of lactose , the production of which is fully developed in young children during breastfeeding, but is partially or completely reduced in later years. Clinical trials have shown that a majority of people due to which during the recording of lactose with symptoms ( diarrhea , flatulence , bloating, stomach press, belching , flatulence , colic , abdominal pain , intestinal cramps, nausea to vomiting , migraine attacks, circulatory problems , Weakness) react (lactose intolerance). If these symptoms occur when consuming dairy products in normal quantities, there may be a milk intolerance. This can be countered by changing your diet or taking lactase tablets. Around 10–15 percent of all adults in Europe cannot tolerate milk containing lactose.

The greatest concentration of adults who can utilize lactose is found in Europe north of the Alps . Over 95 percent of North Germans , Dutch , Danes , Swedes and other Scandinavians have their own lactase enzyme genesis so that they can digest lactose for their entire life. A large part of the Central and South Asian population can no longer tolerate cow's milk in adulthood; they are lactose intolerant.

There are numerous manufacturers of lactose-free milk and dairy products. To do this, the enzyme lactase is added to the milk, which splits the lactose into its starting sugars, glucose and galactose, thus practically anticipating digestion. This lactose-free milk tastes sweeter than milk because glucose and galactose taste sweeter than the original milk sugar. As an alternative for people with milk allergies and lactose intolerance, there are also animal alternatives, for example camel milk .



Web links

Commons : Milk  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikiquote: Milk  Quotes
Wiktionary: Milk  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Vollrath Hopp: Basics of chemical technology for practice and vocational training. Wiley-VCH-Verlag, Weinheim 2001, ISBN 3-527-29998-X , p. 207, ( excerpts from Google Books )
  2. Duden - Lemma "Milch" , accessed on October 9, 2018.
  3. This milk becomes legal. In: . March 12, 2020, accessed March 15, 2020 .
  4. Julia Hofer: Suckler cow husbandry: Here dairy cow and calf are not separated. In: . July 31, 2020, accessed August 27, 2020 .
  5. Gerald Rimbach, Jennifer Möhring, Helmut F. Erbersdobler: Food and goods knowledge for beginners. Springer-Verlag, 2010, ISBN 978-3-642-04486-1 , p. 1.
  6. Milk Ordinance , on, accessed on January 21, 2020
  7. Gerald Rimbach, Jennifer Nagursky, Helmut F. Erbersdobler: Food product knowledge for beginners , Springer (2015) pp. 1–2
  8. MILK, f. lac . In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm : German Dictionary . Hirzel, Leipzig 1854–1961 ( , University of Trier).
  9. ^ W. Pfeifer: Etymological dictionary of German . 8th edition. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-423-32511-9 , pp. 871 .
  10. Jürgen Rösemeier-Buhmann: These are the 6 biggest climate sinners among food. In: Sustainable Retrieved October 26, 2019 .
  11. a b Livestock Primary> Milk, whole fresh cow. In: Official FAO production statistics for 2018., accessed on March 5, 2020 .
  12. Julia Hufelschulte: World's largest dairy farms in China and Saudi Arabia. In: . April 9, 2020, accessed April 12, 2020 .
  13. How many liters of milk does a cow give per day and per year? In: Milchliebe-Magazin . ( Online [accessed May 16, 2018]).
  14. FAO , Faostat consumption statistics of the FAO 2013 ("Food Supply - Livestock and Fish Primary Equivalent") ,, accessed on February 12, 2018. More recent figures are not available.
  15. Milk consumption drops massively In:, October 31, 2016, accessed on December 20, 2017.
  16. Priscilla Imboden: Criticism of the dairy industry - Is the new milk label pure money-making? In: . August 13, 2019, accessed August 13, 2019 .
  17. Swiss Farmers' Association: AGRISTAT Aktuell 2020-01: Milk in the food balance. (PDF; 160 KB) In: . Retrieved March 15, 2020 .
  18. Production volume and per capita consumption of drinking milk decreased further in 2018. In: . Retrieved January 6, 2020 .
  19. ↑ The Dutch drink less and less cow's milk. In: LID.CH Agricultural Information Service. August 6, 2020, accessed August 17, 2020 .
  20. German Research Institute for Food Chemistry, Garching (ed.): Food table for practice . The little souci · specialist · herb. 4th edition. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-8047-2541-6 , p. 20 .
  21. Documentation of an imeter / OViD measurement on milk (I)
  22. ^ Charles M. Benbrook, Donald R. Davis et al. a .: Enhancing the fatty acid profile of milk through forage-based rations, with nutrition modeling of diet outcomes. In: Food Science & Nutrition. 6, 2018, p. 681, doi : 10.1002 / fsn3.610 .
  23. Nadja Podbregar: “Grass milk” is healthier. In: . February 28, 2018, accessed May 19, 2019 .
  24. Albert Gossauer: Structure and reactivity of biomolecules. Verlag Helvetica Chimica Acta, Zurich 2006, ISBN 3-906390-29-2 , p. 339.
  25. Milk: Production - Processing - Ingredients ( Memento from November 17, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  26. a b c d e table of milk heating processes , Catalysis Institute. In: Accessed May 2020
  27. Dr.-Ing. Christian Kiesner: Standards for measuring, regulating, monitoring and safety devices in continuous and discontinuous milk pasteurization systems. Design of heat holders and further process engineering. , Page 2, Max Rubner Institute, Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and Food, Institute for Safety and Quality in Milk and Fish, Kiel
  28. a b Andrea Fink-Keßler, Andrea Lenkert-Hörrmann: Environmental justice and sustainability in the dairy industry - Good practical examples for socially and ecologically innovative forms of operation , pages 24f, publisher: Slow Food Deutschland e. V., 2019
  29. With so-called thermizing only 10-20 seconds. See table milk heating procedures . In: Accessed May 2020
  30. a b c d e f Renner: Table of lysine and vitamin losses during various heating processes (in percent) , Katalyse-Institut, 2018; In: Accessed May 2020
  31. a b Milk production and use in North Rhine-Westphalia 2004 , State Office for Data Processing and Statistics North Rhine-Westphalia
  32. Specification for pasteurization processes in general. However, at least 5 days for short-term heating and at least 6 days for high-temperature heating. See table milk heating procedures . In: Accessed May 2020
  33. With the so-called thermization, only 70 ° C for 15 seconds instead of 71 to 74 ° C for 40 to 45 seconds with the short-term heating. See advantages and disadvantages of milk heating , Katalyse-Institut, 2018; In: Accessed May 2020
  34. a b BfR sees a need for research on the influence of milk processing on the allergenic potential of cow's milk , Opinion No. 021/2009, Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), February 13, 2009
  35. Swiss milk producers, “Maillaiter” newsletter: Article drinking milk ( Memento of the original from September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , September 2006. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  36. Jump up ↑ LE Macdonald, J. Brett, D. Kelton, SE Majowicz, K. Snedeker, JM Sargeant: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of pasteurization on milk vitamins, and evidence for raw milk consumption and other health-related outcomes . In: J Food Prot. 74 (11), Nov 2011, pp. 1814-1832. doi: 10.4315 / 0362-028X.JFP-10-269 . PMID 22054181 .
  37. ^ Robert Samuel Harris, Endel Karmas: Nutritional Evaluation of Food Processing. 2nd Edition. Avi publishing, 1975, ISBN 0-87055-189-2 , p. 225.
  38. P. Eberhard, U. Bütikofer, R. Sieber: Vitamins in stored highly heated milk . In: Agricultural Research Switzerland. 10 (2), 2003, pp. 62-65.
  39. Swiss milk producers, Questions and product information / how big are the vitamin losses? ( Memento of the original from July 31, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  40. JA Kanis, H. Johansson, A. Oden, C. De Laet, O. Johnell, JA Eisman, E. Mc Closkey, D. Mellstrom, H. Pols, J. Reeve, A. Silman, A. Tenenhouse: A. meta-analysis of milk intake and fracture risk: low utility for case finding. In: Osteoporos Int. Volume 16, Number 7, July 2005, pp. 799-804, doi: 10.1007 / s00198-004-1755-6 . PMID 15502959 .
  41. a b NDR, Plusminus: Mythos Milch ( Memento from April 27, 2006 in the Internet Archive ). April 25, 2006.
  42. Mahshid Dehghan, Andrew Mente et al. a .: Association of dairy intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 21 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study. In: The Lancet. 2018, doi : 10.1016 / S0140-6736 (18) 31812-9 .
  43. Effect of dairy calcium or supplementary calcium intake on postprandial fat metabolism, appetite, and subsequent energy intake. In: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 85, no. 3, March 2007, pp. 678-687.
  44. a b Milk and Health. Retrieved February 17, 2020 .
  45. ^ Walter C. Willett, David S. Ludwig: Milk and Health . In: New England Journal of Medicine . tape 382 , no. 7 , February 13, 2020, ISSN  0028-4793 , p. 644-654 , doi : 10.1056 / NEJMra1903547 .
  46. Federal Institute for Risk Assessment: Allergies in Germany , press release from August 15, 2006.
  47. Kerstin Pohl: Food allergies: Eat with caution and sensibility In: Pharmazeutische Zeitung Online. 04/2010.
  48. Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL): Milk largely free of residues ( Memento of the original from January 1, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  49. ^ J. Rennie: Formula for diabetes? In: Scientific American . No. 267, 1992, pp. 24-26. JSTOR .
  50. J. Karjalainen, JM Martin, M. Knip, J. Ilonen, BH Robinson, E. Savilahti, HK Akerblom, H.-M. Dosch: A bovine albumin peptide as a possible trigger of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. In: New England Journal of Medicine . No. 327, 1992, pp. 302-307. doi : 10.1056 / NEJM199207303270502 . PMID 1377788 .
  51. Hubert Kolb: Does cow's milk have a diabetes-promoting effect in human nutrition? In: Diabetes Today. January 2004.
  52. Writing Group for the TRIGR Study Group: Effect of Hydrolyzed Infant Formula vs Conventional Formula on Risk of Type 1 Diabetes: The TRIGR Randomized Clinical Trial. In: JAMA , 2018; 319 (1): 38-48. doi : 10.1001 / jama.2017.19826 . PMID 29297078 . PMC 5833549 (free full text).
  53. ^ John A. Lucey, Raw Milk Consumption: Risks and Benefits In: Nutrition Today. Volume 50, Issue 4, July / August 2015, pp. 189–193. doi: 10.1097 / NT.0000000000000108 . Full text (PDF) .
  54. Marcus Specker: Investigations on the occurrence of Listeria, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Staphylococci in raw milk in the state of Brandenburg. Dissertation Berlin 1996, pp. 80-83.
  55. ^ GA Sonn, W. Aronson, MS Litwin: Impact of diet on prostate cancer: a review. In: Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. 8, 2005, pp. 304-310. doi: 10.1038 / sj.pcan.4500825 PMID 16130015 .
  56. ^ Xiang Gao, Michael P. LaValley, Katherine L. Tucker: Prospective Studies of Dairy Product and Calcium Intakes and Prostate Cancer Risk: A Meta-Analysis. In: J Natl Cancer Inst. 97 (23), December 7, 2005, pp. 1768-1777. doi: 10.1093 / jnci / dji402 PMID 16333032 .
  57. ^ Gianluca Severi, Dallas R. English, John L. Hopper, Graham G. Giles: Re: Prospective studies of dairy product and calcium intakes and prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis. In: J Natl Cancer Inst. 98 (11), June 7, 2006, pp. 794-795. doi: 10.1093 / jnci / djj215 PMID 16757704 .
  58. The Nutrition Source: Calcium and Milk: What's Best for Your Bones and Health?
  59. ^ Reuters. Nonfat milk linked to prostate cancer
  60. World Cancer Research Fund, American Institute of Cancer Research (2007): Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective ( Memento of March 10, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 12.5 MB), P. 382.
  61. H. Chen, SM Zhang, MA Hernán, WC Willett, A. Ascherio: Diet and Parkinson's disease: A potential role of dairy products in men In: Annals of Neurology. Volume 52, Issue 6, 12/2002, pp. 793-801. PMID 12447934 .
  62. H. Chen, E. O'Reilly, ML McCullough, C. Rodriguez, MA Schwarzschild, EE Calle, MJ Thun, A. Ascherio: Consumption of dairy products and risk of Parkinson's disease. In: Am J Epidemiol. Volume 165, number 9, May 2007, pp. 998-1006, doi: 10.1093 / aje / kwk089 . PMID 17272289 , PMC 2232901 (free full text).
  63. Y. Miyake, K. Tanaka, W. Fukushima, S. Sasaki, C. Kiyohara, Y. Tsuboi, T. Yamada, T. Oeda, T. Miki, N. Kawamura, N. Sakae, H. Fukuyama, Y. Hirota, M. Nagai; Fukuoka Kinki Parkinson's Disease Study Group: Lack of association of dairy food, calcium, and vitamin D intake with the risk of Parkinson's disease: A case-control study in Japan In: Parkinsonism & Related Disorders. Volume 17, Issue 2, February 2011, pp. 112-116. doi: 10.1016 / j.parkreldis.2010.11.018 . PMID 21169048 .
  64. Stacey E. Seidl, Jose A. Santiago, Hope Bilyk, Judith A. Potashkin: The emerging role of nutrition in Parkinson's disease In: Front Aging Neurosci. 6, 2014, p. 36. doi: 10.3389 / fnagi.2014.00036 . PMID 24639650 . PMC 3945400 (free full text).
  65. Andrea Kistner, Paul Krack: Parkinson's Disease: No Milk Today? In: Front Neurol. 5, 2014, p. 172. doi: 10.3389 / fneur.2014.00172 . PMID 25250013 . PMC 4155781 (free full text).
  66. ^ Association for lactose intolerance / Die Zeit.
  67. EJ Hollox u. a .: Lactase Haplotype Diversity in the Old World. In: American Journal of Human Genetics. 68, 2001, p. 161.
  68. Janina Duerr: Milk use in the old world - An archaeozoological and cultural historical investigation. In: Archaeological Information. 29, 2006, pp. 221-222, doi: 10.11588 / ai.2006.1 & 2.12125 .
  69. Lactose-free dairy products ( Memento of the original dated February 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /