Thinking of switching from pasteurized milk to raw milk? Lots of people make the switch thinking they are getting a healthier product. But not everyone thinks raw milk is the best choice for families.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has advised children, infants and pregnant women not to consume any raw milk or raw milk products from cows, goats or sheep.

Raw milk is legal in 30 states and co-ops around the country are part of the back to natural milk trend. Certain organizations that promote the health benefits of raw milk say it helps build the immune system.  They believe, and cite studies that say, raw milk is just as safe as regular milk.

The AAP report says that evidence of the benefits of pasteurization to food safety is overwhelming and that the benefits of any elements in raw milk that are inactivated by pasteurization have not been scientifically demonstrated.

The report noted that several types of bacteria have been found in unpasteurized milk, including some that can make vulnerable people very sick such as Listeria, Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Cryptosporidium, among others.

“There are no proven nutritional advantages of raw milk,” said a lead author, Dr. Latinder Bhatia, the chief of neonatology at Georgia Regent University in Augusta. “Further, raw milk and milk products account for a significant proportion of food borne illnesses in Americans. There is no reason to risk consuming raw milk.”

Are cheeses made from raw milk less likely to be contaminated? “No,” Dr. Bhatia said. “They have the same potential..”

Sources: Nicholas Bakalar,