EFSA assesses raw milk health risks

| January 13, 2015

milk in glassThe European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a Scientific Opinion on the public health risks associated with consuming unpasteurised milk in response to growing consumer interest in drinking raw milk for its perceived health benefits.

The Opinion, compiled by the Biological Hazards Panel, concludes that raw milk can be a source of pathogenic bacteria that may cause serious illness, including Campylobacter, Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli. It identifies 27 outbreaks of foodborne disease associated with consuming raw milk between 2007 and 2013, most of which (21) were caused by Campylobacter.

The Panel found that good hygiene practices on farms is essential for preventing contamination of milk with pathogens and that maintaining the cold chain is important to prevent bacterial growth. However, these practices alone cannot eliminate the risk and adequate thermal processing of raw milk is seen as the best way to prevent illness.

The Opinion can be accessed in full here.

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