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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: EFFECTIVE METHODS FOR POSTHARVEST INTERVENTION IN DAIRY PROCESSING

Author
item Stabel, Judith

Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 6, 2002
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Citation: Stabel, J.R. 2003. Effective Methods for Postharvest Intervention in Dairy Processing. Journal of Dairy Science. 86:E10-E15.

Interpretive Summary: Food safety has become a top priority for regulatory agencies in the U.S. Illness and/or death due to contamination of food products with zoonotic pathogens are rare in the U.S. but it does occur. Recent outbreaks of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus (FMDV) in the UK have increased concerns about contamination or transmission of pathogens from farm animals to consumers. Raw milk contains a number of pathogens and the potential is high for these pathogens to cause disease in consumers if milk is not adequately treated to destroy or reduce the pathogen load. Proper intervention methods during the processing of food products significantly reduce the risks of transmission of infectious agents from the farm to the table. This paper summarizes methods of intervention used by dairy processing plants to improve the safety of dairy products for consumers. Methods include: inactivation by heat (pasteurization and ultra-high temperature); high hydrostatic pressure and mild heat; irradiation; pulsed electric fields; and fermentation. Efficacy of these methods for inactivation of pathogens such as Listeria, Yersinia, Salmonella, E. coli, Bovine Leukemia Virus, FMDV, and Mycobacterium paratuberculosis is consistently high. However, there is potential for contamination of dairy products to occur post-processing in the dairy plant and this must be considered when assessing the safety of dairy products for human consumption.

Technical Abstract: Food safety has become a top priority for regulatory agencies in the U.S. Illness and/or death due to contamination of food products with zoonotic pathogens are rare in the U.S. but it does occur. Recent outbreaks of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus (FMDV) in the UK have increased concerns about contamination or transmission of pathogens from farm animals to consumers. Raw milk contains a number of pathogens and the potential is high for these pathogens to cause disease in consumers if milk is not adequately treated to destroy or reduce the pathogen load. Proper intervention methods during the processing of food products significantly reduce the risks of transmission of infectious agents from the farm to the table. This paper summarizes methods of intervention used by dairy processing plants to improve the safety of dairy products for consumers. Methods include: inactivation by heat (pasteurization and ultra-high temperature); high hydrostatic pressure and mild heat; irradiation; pulsed electric fields; and fermentation. Efficacy of these methods for inactivation of pathogens such as Listeria, Yersinia, Salmonella, E. coli, Bovine Leukemia Virus, FMDV, and Mycobacterium paratuberculosis is consistently high. However, there is potential for contamination of dairy products to occur post-processing in the dairy plant and this must be considered when assessing the safety of dairy products for human consumption.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014