July 25, 2024

FDA Warns of Raw Milk Dangers

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.

Between 1993 and 2006, more than 1,500 people in this country got sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made with raw milk. Unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness, and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than any illnesses involving pasteurized dairy.

Milking CowsSoft 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. And HUS can cause long term health complications, especially the eventual need for a kidney transplant.

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.

And anyone who has a weakened immune system or has a chronic illness is more likely to have a serious complication from these types of infections. Finally, the elderly are also at greater risk for complications.

these are the items that are unsafe to eat: unpasteurized milk and cream; soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, as well as yogurt, pudding, ice cream, and frozen yogurt that are made with this product. Freezing won’t kill pathogenic bacteria. The only thing that kills these pathogens is heat.

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