Raw milk has been making headlines lately. Despite illnesses and outbreaks associated with drinking this unpasteurized dairy product, about 1 percent of Americans drink raw milk and advocate for the right to buy or sell it in the states where they live. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has compiled several reports on raw milk. Here are five things the agency wants you to know:
Laws governing the sale of raw milk vary from state to state. About 20 states have laws prohibiting the sale of raw milk, about 30 allow some form of it.
At least 143 Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli outbreaks have been linked to raw milk since 1987. They have included serious illnesses, miscarriages, still births, kidney failure and deaths.
Some advocates of raw milk believe that pasteurization causes lactose intolerance and allergic reactions. It doesn’t.
Some advocates of raw milk believe raw milk kills harmful bacteria. It doesn’t.
Some advocates of raw milk believe drinking raw milk is safe. It isn’t. The FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics and other organizations agree that raw milk is unsafe because it can contain pathogens.