Pathogenic Microorganisms in Milk

Hygienic milk production practices, proper handling and storage of milk, and mandatory pasteurization has decreased the threat of milkborne diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, and typhoid fever. There have been a number of foodborne illnesses resulting from the ingestion of raw milk, or dairy products made with milk that was not properly pasteurized or was poorly handled causing post-processing contamination. The following bacterial pathogens are still of concern today in raw milk and other dairy products:

  • Bacillus cereus
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Yersinia enterocolitica
  • Salmonella spp.
  • Escherichia coli O157:H7
  • Campylobacter jejuni

It should also be noted that moulds, mainly of species of Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Penicillium can grow in milk and dairy products. If the conditions permit, these moulds may produce mycotoxins which can be a health hazard.