AAP Advises Pregnant Women and Children to Avoid Raw Milk Products

Healthy Fam Milk

A new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics published in the January 2014 issue of Pediatrics advises pregnant women, infants and children to consume only pasteurized milk, cheese and other milk products, and also supports a ban on the sale of raw milk in the U.S. Raw milk and milk products from cows, goats and sheep can transmit life-threatening bacterial infections, according to the AAP, yet sales are legal in at least 30 states.

Efforts to limit the sale of raw milk products have been opposed by proponents of purported health benefits from natural factors in milk that are inactivated by pasteurization. However, the benefits of these natural elements have not been clearly demonstrated in scientific research. Numerous data show pasteurized milk provides the same nutritional benefits as raw milk, according to the AAP, without the risk of deadly infections such as listeria, campylobacter, salmonella, brucellosis and E.coli.

“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 bloodborne infections in both young infants and pregnant women,” says Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, M.D., the lead author of the policy statement.

Today, an estimated 1 to 3 percent of all dairy products consumed in the U.S. are not pasteurized. From 1998 to 2009, consumption of raw milk products in the U.S. resulted in 1,837 illnesses, 195 hospitalizations, 93 illness outbreaks and two deaths. The risks involved with infections due to consuming raw milk are particularly high for pregnant women and their fetuses, as well as for young children. Learn more at pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/12/10/peds.2013-3502.abstract.

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