Raw Milk Link To Higher Risk of Foodborne Illnesses

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Benjamin Davis BA
CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Food and Drug Administration banned the inter-state sale of raw (i.e. unpasteurized) milk in 1987. Currently 30 states still allow raw milk sales on local farms or in stores. We were requested by the Maryland General Assembly’s Health and Government Operations Committee to conduct a review of the health benefits and risks of raw versus pasteurized milk in response to proposed legislation that would legalize raw milk in the state. After reviewing over 80 scientific articles we concluded that raw milk carries a substantially higher risk of foodborne illness when compared to pasteurized milk. However drinking raw milk may reduce allergies among children in rural settings.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Clinicians should discourage the consumption of raw milk, particularly for pregnant women and young children. While it is still unclear what the absolute risk of drinking raw milk is, drinking pasteurized milk, which effectively reduces the concentrations of most infectious bacteria, still appears to be a safer choice for a person’s health.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further research should be conducted to better understand the relationship between drinking raw milk and reduced allergies. Such studies should consider raw milk consumers in more urban settings. Additional research should also be conducted to identify what components of raw milk could be the underlying cause of such health benefits. Preliminary data from studies we reviewed indicate that a lower heat treatment for pasteurization could maintain such health benefits without increasing the risk of foodborne illness. Further research should focus on comparing raw milk with lower-temperature pasteurized milk.


A Literature Review of the Risks and Benefits of Consuming Raw and Pasteurized Cow’s Milk

Benjamin J.K. Davis, Cissy X. Li, Keeve E. Nachman
Report, December 8, 2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin Davis BA (2015). Raw Milk Link To Higher Risk of Foodborne Illnesses 

Last Updated on April 3, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD