Louis Pasteur founded the science of bacteriology, which discipline assumes that bacteria cause disease. What most people don’t realize is that on his death bed, Pasteur recanted his theory by proclaiming, “The germ is nothing, the terrain is everything.”
Yes, bacteria may be present during certain disease processes. But do these bacteria cause the disease, or are they merely opportunists which feed off the disease that is already underway? Pasteur used to believe the former, but ended up concluding the latter.
The “terrain” Pasteur spoke of is a person’s susceptibility to infection. Whenever there is a bacterial epidemic, some people succumb to it while those who have strong immune systems do not. For example, there are many people walking around today with pneumococcus bacteria in their lungs yet do not have pneumonia. No factor can truly be considered to be the “cause” of anything if affects only some people but not others.
Pasteurization is the process by which milk is flash heated to a temperature that destroys all bacteria in it, including its content of beneficial lactic bacteria which contribute to our intestinal immunity. Pasteurization also destroys beneficial vitamins and enzymes contained in the milk. Raw milk is a much healthier alternative whenever it is available. People in France consume mostly (or only) unpasteurized milk and cheeses, and there have never been any outbreaks of disease attributed to raw milk consumption in that country. The irony is that raw milk from controlled herds usually tests as having a lower bacterial count than pasteurized milk.