Raw milk and raw milk cheeses as vehicles for infection by Verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli


*Author for correspondence. E-mail: c.baylis@campden.co.uk


Raw milk and raw milk cheeses can be a source of food-borne pathogens, including Verocytotoxin (Shiga toxin)-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC/STEC). Outbreaks of VTEC O157: H7 infections have been attributed to the consumption of raw milk and associated dairy products. Although the general prevalence of VTEC O157 in raw milk and raw milk cheeses is low, it can be higher for non-O157 VTEC. The clinical significance of many of these VTEC is unclear, although some are associated with disease. Studies show that E. coli O157 strains can survive the various stages of the cheesemaking process and that raw milk and raw milk cheeses remain a potential vehicle for VTEC infections.