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Health Risks Associated with Unpasteurized Goats' and Ewes' Milk on Retail Sale in England and Wales. A PHLS Dairy Products Working Group Study

C. L. Little and J. de Louvois
Epidemiology and Infection
Vol. 122, No. 3 (Jun., 1999), pp. 403-408
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3864709
Page Count: 6
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Health Risks Associated with Unpasteurized Goats' and Ewes' Milk on Retail Sale in England and Wales. A PHLS Dairy Products Working Group Study
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Abstract

A pilot study to determine the microbiological quality of unpasteurized milk from goats and ewes sampled from farm shops, health food shops, and other retail premises found that 47%, (47/100) of goats' and 50% (13/26) of ewes' milk samples failed the standards prescribed by the Dairy Products (Hygiene) Regulations 1995. In addition, Staphylococcus aureus, haemolytic streptococci or enterococci, were present in excess of $10^{2}\ {\rm c}.{\rm f}.{\rm u}./{\rm ml}$ in 9 (7%) 2 (2%) and 19 (15%) samples, respectively. Salmonella, campylobacter, verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes were not detected in the samples. At the time of purchase approximately half of the milk samples (58%) were frozen, the rest were liquid. Farm outlets sold predominantly liquid milk, other retail premises sold a frozen product. The microbiological quality of goats' and ewes' milk, whether frozen or liquid, was not significantly different. Milk sold from farm shops was of lower quality than that from health food shops and other retail premises. In this pilot study most producers (92%) supplied, and most retailers (76%) sold unpasteurized goats' and ewes' milk that contained unacceptable levels of indicator organisms. The study was carried out during the winter when goats' milk production is reduced. The results indicate the need for a full representative study of unpasteurized goats' and ewes' milk on retail sale throughout the year.

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