Raw milk can contain dangerous bacteria such as E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria and Campylobacter that can cause serious illness, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency advises that consumers drink only pasteurized milk and eat only pasteurized cheeses.
Soft cheeses such as queso fresco are frequent sources of food poisoning outbreaks. In 2013, unpasteurized queso fresco contaminated with Salmonella sickened 13 people in Minneapolis. Eleven people were diagnosed with confirmed cases. Eight people were hospitalized.
Children are disproportionately affected by raw milk outbreaks and more likely than adults to suffer severe illness. In October 2014, an E. coli outbreak in Kentucky sickened five children, four of whom are hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening condition that strikes young E.coli patients.
Pregnant women are also among those at special risk for food poisoning from Listeria which can cause miscarriage, fetal death or illness or death of a newborn. The agency advises consumers to read labels to help reduce the risk of serious illness from unpasteurized dairy products.