AAP Highlights Risks of Raw Milk in new Report

According to the CDC, as many as 48 million Americans experience foodborne illness every year, accounting for 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 unfortunate deaths. Due to the amount and access to healthful, pasteurized milk and milk products, as well as legislation prohibiting the sale of raw dairy products in much of the United States, one of the most preventable of these foodborne illnesses are infections related to ingestion of raw or unpasteurized milk and milk products.

Raw milk and raw milk products pose a considerable risk to consumers.  Disease-causing bacteria (such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter, among others) are killed during pasteurization, but raw milk does not go through that process, leaving the potential for these harmful bacteria to exist in the milk people then consume. While there have been many stories and anecdotal reports in the news about the alleged benefits of raw milk, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have taken a firm stance on raw milk, saying unequivocally that it is not safe.

Aligning with the FDA and CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced that it endorses a ban on the sale of raw milk throughout the country in a report released online in December that will appear in the January 2014 issue of Pediatrics. According to the new report, “the AAP strongly supports the position of the FDA and other national and international associations in endorsing the consumption of only pasteurized milk and milk products for pregnant women, infants, and children.”

The risks of raw milk outweigh any perceived benefits and there are many safe and healthful, pasteurized dairy options to meet a variety of needs. For more information visit the IFIC Foundation Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety and www.foodsafety.gov.