One in six people in the United States get sick each year from food. A new report will be published next month, ranking the types of food associated with foodborne illness. Dairy, poultry and leafy vegetables top the list.
In many cases, there are precautions you can take to reduce the risk of getting sick, including washing your hands and any items used to prepare the food. Experts say it's important to properly cook products and make sure they're at the correct temperature.
Those precautions don't apply to every product, including milk. While some say unpasteurized milk provides health benefits and tastes better, others argue consuming raw milk is risky.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports dairy is the number one cause of hospitalizations. Local health experts said unpasteurized milk is largely to blame.
Department of Public Health Chief Environmental Health Specialist, Donna Fenton, said, "The rate for disease caused by raw milk is greater than that from pasteurized milk. So, that's probably why you'll see an increase in the numbers of illnesses associated with dairy products."
"The risk is high. The whole reason why they developed pasteurization was truly due to the high risk of foodborne illness," said Lori Tolleson, Clinical Nutrition Manager at Morrison Healthcare.
Registered dietician, Jordan Dennis, said while there are some risks to raw dairy products, like cheese, there are benefits as well. "I personally would eat it, like I said you're going to have a better texture. So if I'm going to put out a cheese tray at a dinner party with a group of adults, who are a lower risk population, I'd let them know, but you are going to have a much better flavor," said Dennis.
Raw milk activists say there are also other benefits including components that kill pathogens and strengthen the immune system.
Tolleson, said only a minimal amount of nutrients are lost in the pasteurization process." There's not a significant difference. The losses that are attained from pasteurization are thiamine, B1, vitamin c, things that we don't really focus on in milk, or dairy products themselves is usually calcium, protein, things like that from dairy and that's what we focus on nutritionally," said Tolleson.
Some states have laws blocking the sale of raw milk. Here in California, there are milk regulations, but unpasteurized milk in legal.