HealthDay News — Pregnant women, infants and children should avoid consuming raw, unpasteurized milk due to the associated risk for bacterial infections, according to a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Yvonne A. Maldonado, MD, of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, and colleagues reviewed and compiled evidence on the risks of infectious complications associated with consumption of unpasteurized milk and milk products in the United States.
Consuming raw milk and milk products from cows, goats and sheep may result in bacterial infections caused by numerous virulent pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella species, Brucella species and Escherichia coli O157, they reported in Pediatrics.
These products may cause life-threatening infections in healthy and immunocompromised individuals, as well as fetal miscarriage in pregnant women.
“[T]he 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 researchers wrote.
The agency also endorses a ban on the sale of raw or unpasteurized milk and milk products in the United States, including raw milk cheeses, such as fresh cheeses, soft cheeses and soft-ripened cheeses, and is encouraging healthcare providers to do the same.
Evidence suggests that pasteurized milk offers equivalent health benefits without the risk of bacterial infections associated with raw milk. The agency cited “the multiplicity of data regarding the burden of illness” and the “strong scientific evidence that pasteurization does not alter the nutritional value of milk,” in the policy statement.