Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

American Academy of Pediatrics Advises Ban on Raw Milk

The health claims related to drinking raw milk have not been verified by scientific evidence, and therefore do not outweigh the potential health risks that raw milk poses to pregnant women and children, according to a policy statement issued Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the nation’s leading pediatrics organization.

The organization went even further than advising against drinking raw milk by also endorsing a nationwide ban on the sale of raw dairy products.

That recommendation, the organization stated, was based on the plentiful data regarding the burden of illness associated with raw dairy, especially among pregnant women and children, along with the “strong scientific evidence” that pasteurized milk promises the same nutritional value.

While anyone can fall ill from drinking raw milk contaminated with bacterial pathogens, it is especially risky to pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals, the statement said.

Before U.S. dairies began pasteurizing milk in the 1920s, raw dairy products caused a significant portion of foodborne illness, including hundreds of outbreaks of tuberculosis and infections such as Brucella abortus, streptococcal species and intestinal pathogens. Today, raw dairy is more commonly associated with E. coli, Campylobcater and Salmonella outbreaks.

According to the academy, 79 percent of raw dairy outbreaks involve at least one person under 20 years old.

Of 121 dairy-related outbreaks reported between 1993 and 2006, 73 (60 percent) were linked to raw dairy, despite only about 3 percent of the dairy products consumed in the U.S. being unpasteurized. And, in those outbreaks, 13 percent of raw dairy drinkers were hospitalized, while only 1 percent of pasteurized dairy drinkers were.

Pregnant women who consume raw dairy products are statistically at five times greater risk of contracting infections of toxoplasma, E. coli or Listeria, which may cause consequential neonatal infections such as sepsis or meningitis.

“In summary, 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 AAP stated.

© Food Safety News
  • The photo in this article is horrible. No infant should be given cow’s milk at all. Breastfeeding is best, and if absolutely impossible–absence of the mother, perhaps–then high quality infant formula. Not cow’s milk–raw or otherwise.

    • JAndrewsFSN

      Thanks for your comment. We have changed the photo to an older child drinking milk.

  • The majority of doctors know absolutely NOTHING about nutrition and are not scientifically qualified to make recommendations about the banning of natural foods that humans have been consuming for thousands of years without harm. This move is completely without justification. What is the cause? Where are the so-called cases of “illness” caused by drinking raw milk to back up their specious claims? HINT: There are NONE.

    There has not been a single documented case of illness that can be traced back to the consumption of raw milk in the USA for more than 100 years. There have been a handful of made up cases that disintegrate into dust when you try to follow them back to their source, but nothing verifiable. So let’s follow the money. Sales of raw milk straight from the farmer to the consumer have been increasing in recent years, which has scared big dairy.

    So I wonder if the National Dairy Council or some other similar organization that supports huge factory dairies like Borden but is rabidly opposed to small independent dairies, didn’t just make a nice contribution to the American Academy of Pediatrics. By way of a thank you, the Academy in turn comes out with this horse pocky report, which sadly, many people will take as gospel truth. However did the human race survive eating all those natural foods in the thousands of years before we had the USDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics to protect us from being too healthy?

    Health reporting is ridiculous in this country. They report biased, flawed clinical trials as fact, and completely overlook any information that didn’t come in via a PR wonk.

    A real journalist writing on this subject would have at least interviewed an expert on raw milk to get their side of the story. But then again, this isn’t real journalism, is it? It’s just publishing yet another press release without stopping to consider whether what is being published is accurate or even scientifically valid.

    Nothing in this story is accurate or supported by actual science. It’s all flawed opinion put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics for God only knows what reason. But ladies and gentlemen, let me here remind you of a doctor’s oath: “First, do no harm.” When you put out claptrap like this, you are harming people by scaring them into avoiding the wholesome, unadulterated foods that made our ancestors strong. Please cut it out, and devote yourselves instead to your actual area of expertise, giving proper medical care to children.

    • EHO-ST

      As an Environmental Health Officer who receives enteric illness lab reports and follows up with those seriously affected (and children are more seriously affected), I get frustrated when people shrug off some of our major advances in Public Health! I investigated salmonella infections with an entire family of farmers who admitted their illness was caused by consuming raw milk from their farm. I am just one EHO who has this experience. Knowing what I know, I will NEVER feed my child unpasteurized milk products if I can help it… and, thankfully, pasteurized products are readily available to me. We hear the same excuses over and over about how we’ve survived hundreds of years before these advances, but think about all the people who did not survive!!! When I support pasteurized milk, I do not have some hidden agenda… I know that our burden of illness is much lower than it would be if there were no food safety controls in place.

      • Alan F

        As a fellow EHO I support your statement and add that i am so tired of hearing morons hiding behind pseudonyms like like Natural revolution claim there is no evidence of illness caused by raw milk. In my 37 years i have investigated some serious illnesses and deaths traced to raw milk. .

    • Amorette

      Let’s bring back cholera, dysentery, typhoid, etc. and we can all enjoy the way life was in the ‘good old days.’ Lose a couple of kids to cholera and I bet you’d change your opinion.

    • Emily73

      You couldn’t be more wrong. Doctors know everything they need to know about E. coli infections, listeriosis, and other diseases caused by RAW MILK. And in the thousands of years before the USDA, people DIED from drinking raw milk. You need to stop blathering and do some research.

      • How can you make such a claim, when “thousands of years before the USDA”, there were no records that indicated your so-called death rates of raw milk?

        Yes, by all means, put your trust in doctors, who kill more people each year than guns, cancer and heart attacks, combined.

        Do YOUR research and stop posting ill informed inane rubbish.

    • Alan F

      all the “experts” on raw milk agree it is dangerous. Only the cuckooland people believe otherwise.

  • SN0man

    I don’t need anyone telling me what I can or cannot ingest, and I don’t need anyone telling my neighbor he can’t sell his raw milk to me.

    • Emily73

      Then don’t go to the doctor when you or someone in your family gets sick. Your refusal to accept facts costs taxpayers money when outbreaks occur because public health officials have to investigate it. And the cost of your illness is passed on to the rest of us when you can’t pay your medical bills.

      • SN0man

        That’s what happens when my body becomes the property of the state.

  • Name

    mmmm lets see no no cases of illness associated with raw milk, lets take a look at just a few pieces of evidence.

    Raw MIlk Illnesses underreported : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/12/study-raw-milk-illnesses-greatly-under-reported/

    Raw Milk Associated with illness in children in TN: http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/mcbee-dairy-farm-cow-shit-matched-to-ill-children-that-drank-raw-milk/

    If one did some research they could just about find an oubreak of illness associated with raw milk every month. The best thing raw milk does is keep the attorneys happy prosecuting those who sell raw milk than make people sick.
    Illness associated with the drinking of raw milk ill brought about food safety inspection programs throughout the united states with pasteurization one of the great accomplishments in the protection of public health.

  • Catherine Richmer

    raw milk is the best next to raw goats milk, I wish they would look into the GMO’s food and see just how bad it is for our heath