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  • Feature Story

Pathogens May Exist in Unpasteurized Milk

September 17, 2013

According to the Children's Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado, aged cheese made from unpasteurized milk has likely been responsible for several food poisoning outbreaks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that 85 percent of 239 hospitalizations were due to tainted dairy products involving raw milk, or cheese made from raw milk. Almost two-thirds of the hospitalized individuals were under the age of 20.

In February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada published an assessment of the risks of listeriosis, the third-leading cause of death from food poisoning in the United States. Both organizations found that listeriosis was found to be 50-160 times greater per serving if cheese was made with unpasteurized milk.

Pathogens detected in up to five to 11 percent of samples gathered from bulk tank milk used for raw milk cheese production include:

  • Escherichia coli 0157,
  • Salmonella, Shigella,
  • Yersinia enterocolitica,
  • Listeria monocytogenes, and
  • Campylobacter jejuni.

A new action could be taken to address the regulations of animal health and hygiene throughout the milking process to avoid any further contamination. In addition, an extension could be added to the current aging rule for cheese from 60 to 90 days to help eliminate pathogens.