- news, features, articles and disease information for the dairy industry


Pasteurized Milk not at Risk from Recent Campylobacter Discovery

01 November 2012
University of South Dakota

US - The discovery of campylobacter bacteria in a sampling of raw, unpasteurized milk from Black Hills Milk in Belle Fourche, has been reported by the South Dakota Department for Agriculture.

The Department advises consumers that raw milk recently purchased from this business may contain harmful bacteria that can lead to campylobacter infection. Symptoms of this infection include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and can sometimes progress to more serious illness, such as kidney failure and other complications.

At this time, there has not been an outbreak, the bacteria was discovered during a routine testing of the raw milk that is being marketed for human consumption, explains Joan Hegerfeld-Baker, South Dakota State University Extension Food Safety Specialist.

“When campylobacter was identified by the SDDA a news release was sent out to warn those who consume raw milk,” Mr Hegerfeld-Baker said.

She emphasizes the fact that this foodborne illness is only a concern to consumers of raw milk. Alvaro Garcia, SDSU Extension Dairy Specialist agrees.

“Milk is rarely in the news as a food that causes public health concerns thanks to pasteurization technology,” Mr Garcia said. “The main reason for this has been the strict health control points from farm to table and the pasteurization of fluid milk and dairy products.”

He adds that for almost a century, producers and processors have understood that milk is a potential source for the growth of microorganisms, and therefore, could cause health problems if not handled properly.

“Regulations and policies were created to protect the consumers’ health from diseases that can be transmitted by drinking raw milk,” Mr Garcia said. “This fact has created a partnership of trust among producers, industry, and consumers.”

Advocates promoting the consumption of raw milk have been extremely active in spite of an increase in the numbers of outbreaks. Those who drink raw milk say it is healthier because it hasn’t lost enzymes and nutrients during pasteurization.

“Research has not been able to prove these claims,” Mr Garcia said. “In fact, recent research has proven that aside from 10 per cent loss in vitamin C, the rest of the vitamins were not affected.

Further Reading

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