The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has called for a ban on the sale of unpasteurized milk and milk products throughout the US, citing the “significant health risk” to pregnant women, infants, and children.
In a new policy statement, Consumption of Raw or Unpasteurized Milk and Milk Products by Pregnant Women and Children , the AAP reviewed evidence of the risks of consuming raw milk and milk products.
On the back of its research, the AAP has stated that it “strongly supports” the position of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “in endorsing the consumption of only pasteurized milk and milk products for pregnant women, infants, and children.”
The organisation, which represents around 60,000 US pediatricians, also gave it backing to a complete ban on the sale of raw milk and milk products throughout the US, “including the sale of certain raw milk cheese, and sot-ripened cheeses.”
Risks of raw milk consumption
The FDA currently prohibits the interstate sale of unpasteurized milk for human consumption – effectively banning the cross-border sale of raw milk or milk products. However, many US states permit the sale of these products within state lines.
According to the Campaign for Real Milk, a total of 10 states, including California, Nevada, New Mexico, and New Hampshire, permit the retail sale of unpasteurized milk products. On-farm sales are also legal in 15 states, it says.
In its policy statement, which was published online earlier today, the AAP warned about the dangers of consuming raw milk and milk products from cows, goats, and sheep, which can contain potentially lethal foodborne pathogen including Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella, and Escherichia coli O157, the AAP said.
Commenting, lead author of the policy statement, Yvonne Maldonado said: “Consumption of raw milk or milk products can result in severe and life-threatening illnesses such as miscarriage and stillbirths in pregnant women, and meningitis and blood borne infections in both young infants and pregnant women."
"Before pasteurization of milk began in the United States in the 1920s, consumption of raw dairy products accounted for a significant proportion of foodborne illnesses among Americans, and resulted in hundreds of outbreaks of tuberculosis and other serious infections," Maldonado added.