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Concept: Raw milk


The growing popularity of unpasteurized milk in the United States raises public health concerns. We estimated outbreak-related illnesses and hospitalizations caused by the consumption of cow’s milk and cheese contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter spp. using a model relying on publicly available outbreak data. In the United States, outbreaks associated with dairy consumption cause, on average, 760 illnesses/year and 22 hospitalizations/year, mostly from Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. Unpasteurized milk, consumed by only 3.2% of the population, and cheese, consumed by only 1.6% of the population, caused 96% of illnesses caused by contaminated dairy products. Unpasteurized dairy products thus cause 840 (95% CrI 611-1,158) times more illnesses and 45 (95% CrI 34-59) times more hospitalizations than pasteurized products. As consumption of unpasteurized dairy products grows, illnesses will increase steadily; a doubling in the consumption of unpasteurized milk or cheese could increase outbreak-related illnesses by 96%.

Concepts: United States, Milk, Butter, Cattle, Pasteurization, Dairy product, Cheese, Raw milk


In August 2016, a local public health agency (LPHA) notified the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) of two culture-confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection among persons who consumed raw (unpasteurized) milk from the same herdshare dairy. In Colorado, the sale of raw milk is illegal; however, herdshare programs, in which a member can purchase a share of a herd of cows or goats, are legal and are not regulated by state or local authorities. In coordination with LPHAs, CDPHE conducted an outbreak investigation that identified 12 confirmed and five probable cases of Campylobacter jejuni infection. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns for the 10 cases with available isolates were identical using the enzyme Sma. In addition, two milk samples (one from the dairy and one obtained from an ill shareholder) also tested positive for the outbreak strain. Five C. jejuni isolates sent to CDC for antimicrobial susceptibility testing were resistant to ciprofloxacin, tetracycline, and nalidixic acid (1). Although shareholders were notified of the outbreak and cautioned against drinking the milk on multiple occasions, milk distribution was not discontinued. Although its distribution is legal through herdshare programs, drinking raw milk is inherently risky (2). The role of public health in implementing control measures associated with a product that is known to be unsafe remains undefined.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Milk, Proteobacteria, Pasteurization, Campylobacter, Campylobacter jejuni, Raw milk, Campylobacteriosis


Identification of processed milk is of importance for commercial and legal concerns. The fluorescence response patterns induced by fluorophore/protein interactions allow a possible discrimination of processed milk samples corresponding to their thermal treatment. The fluorescence responses of 4 fluorophores upon addition of commercial milk samples in 96-well plate are measured in the range of 400-600 nm using the excitation wavelength at 375 nm. The pattern recognition of the 53,126 fluorescence responses (4 fluorophores×41 wavelengths×4 thermally processed milks×3 brands×3 lots×3 bottles×3 repeats) are analyzed by multivariate statistical methods. Linear discriminant analysis (LDA) successfully recognizes the milk samples according to their thermal processing, i.e. pasteurized milk, sterilized milk, UHT fresh milk and recombined milk (UHT milk having milk powder), with 100% classification accuracy in a cross validation using a leave-one-out technique.

Concepts: Milk, Multivariate statistics, Pasteurization, Dairy product, Cheese, Powdered milk, Raw milk, Ultra-high-temperature processing


In May 2014, the Utah Public Health Laboratory (UPHL) notified the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) of specimens from three patients infected with Campylobacter jejuni yielding indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns. All three patients had consumed raw (unpasteurized and nonhomogenized) milk from dairy A. In Utah, raw milk sales are legal from farm to consumer with a sales permit from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF). Raw milk dairies are required to submit monthly milk samples to UDAF for somatic cell and coliform counts, both of which are indicators of raw milk contamination. Before this cluster’s identification, dairy A’s routine test results were within acceptable levels (<400,000 somatic cells/mL and <10 coliform colony forming units/mL). Subsequent enhanced testing procedures recovered C. jejuni, a fastidious organism, in dairy A raw milk; the isolate matched the cluster pattern. UDAF suspended dairy A's raw milk permit during August 4-October 1, and reinstated the permit when follow-up cultures were negative. Additional cases of C. jejuni infection were identified in October, and UDAF permanently revoked dairy A's permit to sell raw milk on December 1. During May 9-November 6, 2014, a total of 99 cases of C. jejuni infection were identified. Routine somatic cell and coliform counts of raw milk do not ensure its safety. Consumers should be educated that raw milk might be unsafe even if it meets routine testing standards.

Concepts: Bacteria, Infection, Milk, Pasteurization, Gastroenteritis, Campylobacter, Campylobacter jejuni, Raw milk


PURPOSE This pilot study aimed to determine whether raw milk reduces lactose malabsorption and/or lactose intolerance symptoms relative to pasteurized milk. METHODS We performed a crossover trial involving 16 adults with self-reported lactose intolerance and lactose malabsorption confirmed by hydrogen (H2) breath testing. Participants underwent 3, 8-day milk phases (raw vs 2 controls: pasteurized, soy) in randomized order separated by 1-week washout periods. On days 1 and 8 of each phase, milk consumption was 473 mL (16 oz); on days 2 to 7, milk dosage increased daily by 118 mL (4 oz), beginning with 118 mL (4 oz) on day 2 and reaching 710 mL (24 oz) on day 7. Outcomes were area under the breath H2 curve (AUC H2) and self-reported symptom severity (visual analog scales: flatulence/gas, audible bowel sounds, abdominal cramping, diarrhea). RESULTS AUC H2 (mean ± standard error of the mean) was higher for raw vs pasteurized on day 1 (113 ± 21 vs 71 ± 12 ppm·min·10(-2), respectively, P = .01) but not day 8 (72 ± 14 vs 74 ± 15 ppm·min·10(-2), respectively, P = .9). Symptom severities were not different for raw vs pasteurized on day 7 with the highest dosage (P >.7). AUC H2 and symptom severities were higher for both dairy milks compared with soy milk. CONCLUSIONS Raw milk failed to reduce lactose malabsorption or lactose intolerance symptoms compared with pasteurized milk among adults positive for lactose malabsorption. These results do not support widespread anecdotal claims that raw milk reduces the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Concepts: Milk, Calcium, Tuberculosis, Pasteurization, Lactose intolerance, Soy milk, Raw milk, Almond milk


When a mother’s milk is unavailable, the best alternative is donor milk (DM). Milk delivered to Human Milk Banks should be pasteurized in order to inactivate the microbial agents that may be present. Currently, pasteurization, performed at 62.5 °C for 30 min (Holder Pasteurization, HoP), is recommended for this purpose in international guidelines. Several studies have been performed to investigate the effects of HoP on the properties of DM. The present paper has the aim of reviewing the published papers on this topic, and to provide a comparison of the reported variations of biologically-active DM components before and after HoP. This review was performed by searching the MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINHAL and Cochrane Library databases. Studies that clearly identified the HoP parameters and compared the same DM samples, before and after pasteurization, were focused on. A total of 44 articles satisfied the above criteria, and were therefore selected. The findings from the literature report variable results. A possible explanation for this may be the heterogeneity of the test protocols that were applied. Moreover, the present review spans more than five decades, and modern pasteurizers may be able to modify the degradation kinetics for heat-sensitive substances, compared to older ones. Overall, the data indicate that HoP affects several milk components, although it is difficult to quantify the degradation degree. However, clinical practices demonstrate that many beneficial properties of DM still persist after HoP.

Concepts: Effect, Milk, MEDLINE, Modern history, Pasteurization, Cheese, Human milk banking in North America, Raw milk


The US Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) allows milk tanker trucks to be used repeatedly for 24 h before mandatory clean-in-place cleaning, but no specifications are given for the length of time a tanker can be empty between loads. We defined a worst-case hauling scenario as a hauling vessel left empty and dirty (idle) for extended periods between loads, especially in warm weather. Initial studies were conducted using 5-gallon milk cans (pilot-scale) as a proof-of-concept and to demonstrate that extended idle time intervals could contribute to compromised raw milk quality. Based on pilot-scale results, a commercial hauling study was conducted through partnership with a Pacific Northwest dairy co-op to verify that extended idle times of 6 h between loads have minimal influence on the microbiological populations and enzyme activity in subsequent loads of milk. Milk cans were used to haul raw milk (load 1), emptied, incubated at 30°C for 3, 6, 10, and 20 h, and refilled with commercially pasteurized whole milk (load 2) to measure cross-contamination. For the commercial-scale study, a single tanker was filled with milk from a farm known to have poorer quality milk (farm A, load 1), emptied, and refilled immediately (0 h) or after a delay (6 h) with milk from a farm known to have superior quality milk (farm B, load 2). In both experiments, milk samples were obtained from each farm’s bulk tank and from the milk can or tanker before unloading. Each sample was microbiologically assessed for standard plate count (SPC), lactic acid bacteria (LAB), and coliform counts. Selected isolates were assessed for lipolytic and proteolytic activity using spirit blue agar and skim milk agar, respectively. The pilot-scale experiment effectively demonstrated that extended periods of idle (>3 h) of soiled hauling vessels can significantly affect the microbiological quality of raw milk in subsequent loads; however, extended idle times of 6 h or less would not measurably compromise milk quality in subsequent loads in commercial tankers. Current tanker sanitation practices appear to be sufficient for maintaining raw milk SPC, LAB, and coliform levels, which are important measures of milk quality.

Concepts: Bacteria, Milk, Dairy farming, Lactic acid, Pasteurization, Dairy product, Cheese, Raw milk


Raw milk is known to contain relatively high numbers of microorganisms, some of which include microbial pathogens. Electron beam (eBeam) processing is a nonthermal pasteurization food processing technology. The underlying hypothesis was that eBeam processing will not negatively influence the composition, nutrient content, and aroma profile of raw milk. Raw milk samples were exposed to eBeam doses of 1 and 2 kGy, since our studies had shown that 2 kGy is suitable for raw milk pasteurization. The untreated and eBeam-treated raw milk samples were analyzed to detect changes in lactose, vitamin B2 , vitamin B12 , and calcium concentrations. The possible breakdown of casein and whey proteins and lipid oxidation were investigated along with the formation of volatile aroma compounds. Even though vitamin B2 showed a 31.6% decrease in concentration, the B2 content in eBeam-pasteurized raw milk met all USDA nutritional guidelines. Even though there were no indications of lipid oxidation after the 2.0-kGy eBeam treatment, there was lipid oxidation (58%) after 7 d of refrigerated storage. However, based on the GC-olfactory analysis, the lipid oxidation did not necessarily result in the development of a wide variety of off-odors.

Concepts: Metabolism, Nutrition, Milk, Vitamin, Food preservation, Pasteurization, Cheese, Raw milk


The risks and benefits of traditional cheeses, mainly raw milk cheeses, are rarely set out objectively, whence the recurrent confused debate over their pros and cons. This review starts by emphasizing the particularities of the microbiota in traditional cheeses. It then describes the sensory, hygiene, and possible health benefits associated with traditional cheeses. The microbial diversity underlying the benefits of raw milk cheese depends on both the milk microbiota and on traditional practices, including inoculation practices. Traditional know-how from farming to cheese processing helps to maintain both the richness of the microbiota in individual cheeses and the diversity between cheeses throughout processing. All in all more than 400 species of lactic acid bacteria, Gram and catalase-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria, yeasts and moulds have been detected in raw milk. This biodiversity decreases in cheese cores, where a small number of lactic acid bacteria species are numerically dominant, but persists on the cheese surfaces, which harbour numerous species of bacteria, yeasts and moulds. Diversity between cheeses is due particularly to wide variations in the dynamics of the same species in different cheeses. Flavour is more intense and rich in raw milk cheeses than in processed ones. This is mainly because an abundant native microbiota can express in raw milk cheeses, which is not the case in cheeses made from pasteurized or microfiltered milk. Compared to commercial strains, indigenous lactic acid bacteria isolated from milk/cheese, and surface bacteria and yeasts isolated from traditional brines, were associated with more complex volatile profiles and higher scores for some sensorial attributes. The ability of traditional cheeses to combat pathogens is related more to native antipathogenic strains or microbial consortia than to natural non-microbial inhibitor(s) from milk. Quite different native microbiota can protect against Listeria monocytogenes in cheeses (in both core and surface) and on the wooden surfaces of traditional equipment. The inhibition seems to be associated with their qualitative and quantitative composition rather than with their degree of diversity. The inhibitory mechanisms are not well elucidated. Both cross-sectional and cohort studies have evidenced a strong association of raw-milk consumption with protection against allergic/atopic diseases; further studies are needed to determine whether such association extends to traditional raw-milk cheese consumption. In the future, the use of meta-omics methods should help to decipher how traditional cheese ecosystems form and function, opening the way to new methods of risk-benefit management from farm to ripened cheese.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Milk, Lactic acid, Pasteurization, Cheese, Raw milk, Mold


Sporeformers in the order Bacillales are important contributors to spoilage of pasteurized milk. While only a few Bacillus and Viridibacillus strains can grow in milk at 6[degree sign]C, the majority of Paenibacillus isolated from pasteurized fluid milk can grow under these conditions. To gain a better understanding of genomic features of these important spoilage organisms and to identify candidate genomic features that may facilitate cold growth in milk, we performed a comparative genomic analysis of selected dairy associated sporeformers representing isolates that can and cannot grow in milk at 6[degree sign]C.

Concepts: Milk, Bacillus, Pasteurization, Dairy product, Firmicutes, Cheese, Raw milk, Bacillales