Pediatricians Advise Children, Pregnant Women to Avoid Raw Milk

Raw milk–milk that has not been pasteurized–may carry serious health risks and should be avoided by pregnant women, infants and children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is saying in a new policy statement.  More from The New York Times:

Although the sale of unpasteurized milk products is legal in 30 states, the academy says that the evidence of the benefits of pasteurization to food safety is overwhelming, and that the benefits of any elements in raw milk that are inactivated by pasteurization have not been scientifically demonstrated.

The report, published Monday in Pediatrics, notes that many species of harmful bacteria have been found in unpasteurized milk products, including Listeria, Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Cryptosporidium, among others.

In a study published last week in Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers estimated that over the past 10 years in Minnesota, where raw milk is legally sold, more than 17 percent of those who consumed it became ill.

“There are no proven nutritional advantages of raw milk,” said a lead author, Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, the chief of neonatology at Georgia Regent University in Augusta. “Further, raw milk and milk products account for a significant proportion of food borne illnesses in Americans. There is no reason to risk consuming raw milk.”

The AAP also advises avoiding raw milk cheeses for the same reasons.

Image: Cow, via Shutterstock

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