Unpasteurized milk can pose a serious threat due to possible contamination with pathogenic bacteria, say researchers.
The milk can get contaminated at the time of collection, processing, distribution, or storage of milk, the authors write.
Many pathogens that can be found in the dairy farm environment can contaminate the teat skin of dairy cows and consequently the milk at the time when cows are milked.
Experts have reported that presence of Salmonella and E. coli pooled milk collected from farms.
Despite the ban on sale of raw milk in 26 states in 2006, the authors note that those who are opposed to pasteurization have found ways to circumvent the law and obtain raw milk.
Raw milk advocates claim that unpasteurized milk cures or prevents disease, but no scientific evidence supports this notion.
In the review, co-authors Jeffrey T. LeJeune and Paivi J. Rajala-Schultz of the College of Veterinary Medicine in Columbus, Ohio suggests that testing raw milk, which has been suggested as an alternative to pasteurization, cannot ensure a product that is 100 percent safe and free of pathogens.
They say that pasteurization remains the best way to reduce the unavoidable risk of contamination.
The review appears in journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.