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Research article2018Peer reviewed

Foodborne pathogens in unpasteurized milk in Sweden

Artursson, Karin; Schelin, Jenny; Lambertz, Susanne Thisted; Hansson, Ingrid; Engvall, Eva Olsson

Abstract

Raw milk may be a risk for public health if it is contaminated with zoonotic pathogens. To study the prevalence in unpasteurized milk from Swedish farms, bovine and small ruminant dairy farms were sampled. Since the sampling method and transport conditions may influence the outcome of analyses, efforts were made to optimize the methodology. Culturing of bacteria was done from in-line milk filters collected from the milk pipe at the point where it enters the milk bulk tank at the farms and this way of sampling was compared to sampling bulk tank milk (BTM) directly. Analysing milk filters were found to be superior to analysing BTM directly. Conditions for transport of milk filter samples were further improved by the addition of Cary Blair transport medium, which significantly increased the number of positive samples for pathogenic bacteria. The isolation of several food borne pathogens from milk filters was demonstrated. The prevalence of samples with Staphylococcus aureus was 71% and 64%, and Listeria spp. 21% and 29% from dairy cow and goat/sheep farms, respectively. Campylobacter jejuni, Yersinia enterocolitica and verotoxigenic Escherichia cob (VTEC) O157 were detected in 9%, 2% and 2% of samples from bovine milk, respectively.We conclude that the choice of sampling method and sample handling influence the results of bacterial culturing. From the results of this study, we strongly recommend to sample in-line milk filters instead of BTM directly and to use Cary Blair medium during transport, especially if the samples are to be analysed for Campylobacter spp. and/or Listeria spp. The findings also show that unpasteurized milk from Swedish farms occasionally contain bacteria with zoonotic potential.

Keywords

Foodborne pathogens; Unpasteurized milk; Transport medium; Campylobacter; Staphylococcus aureus

Published in

International Journal of Food Microbiology
2018, Volume: 284, pages: 120-127 Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV