US: Raw milk causes most illnesses from dairy, study finds
Posted: February 23rd, 2012 - 10:11pm
Source: USA Today
Unpasteurized milk, touted as the ultimate health food by some, is 150 times more likely to cause food-borne illness outbreaks than pasteurized milk, and such outbreaks had a hospitalization rate 13 times higher than those involving pasteurized dairy products, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds.
The survey found 121 outbreaks linked to dairy products in which it was known whether the milk was pasteurized or unpasteurized (also called "raw"). Of those, 60% were caused by raw milk and 39% by pasteurized milk.
"When you consider that no more than 1% of the milk consumed in the United States is raw, it's pretty startling to see that more of the outbreaks were caused by raw milk than pasteurized," says Barbara Mahon, senior author on the paper and deputy director of enteric diseases at CDC.
The 13-year review, published in this month's edition of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, is one of the largest done to date. It also found that states where the sale of raw milk is legal have twice as many outbreaks as states where it is illegal.