Pasteurization of milk was adopted decades ago as a basic public health measure to kill dangerous bacteria and largely eliminate the risk of getting sick from one of the most important staples of the American diet. In 1987, the agency issued a regulation prohibiting the interstate sale of raw milk.
In recent years, however, a small number of Americans (less than 1 percent) have rejected pasteurization in favor of raw (or unpasteurized) milk, citing a range of taste, nutritional and health benefits they believe are associated with raw milk consumption, as well as a general preference for unprocessed food. Today, 20 states explicitly prohibit intrastate raw milk sales in some form and 30 allow it.
FDA strongly supports the application of effective measures, such as pasteurization, to protect the safety of the food supply and maintain public confidence in such important, healthy staples of the diet as milk.