Research – Outbreaks Attributed to Cheese: Differences Between Outbreaks Caused by Unpasteurized and Pasteurized Dairy Products, United States, 1998–2011

Mary Ann Leibert

Introduction: The interstate commerce of unpasteurized fluid milk, also known as raw milk, is illegal in the United States, and intrastate sales are regulated independently by each state. However, U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations allow the interstate sale of certain types of cheeses made from unpasteurized milk if specific aging requirements are met. We describe characteristics of these outbreaks, including differences between outbreaks linked to cheese made from pasteurized or unpasteurized milk.

Methods: We reviewed reports of outbreaks submitted to the Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System during 1998–2011 in which cheese was implicated as the vehicle. We describe characteristics of these outbreaks, including differences between outbreaks linked to cheese made from pasteurized versus unpasteurized milk.

Results: During 1998–2011, 90 outbreaks attributed to cheese were reported; 38 (42%) were due to cheese made with unpasteurized milk, 44 (49%) to cheese made with pasteurized milk, and the pasteurization status was not reported for the other eight (9%). The most common cheese–pathogen pairs were unpasteurized queso fresco or other Mexican-style cheese and Salmonella (10 outbreaks), and pasteurized queso fresco or other Mexican-style cheese and Listeria (6 outbreaks). The cheese was imported from Mexico in 38% of outbreaks caused by cheese made with unpasteurized milk. In at least five outbreaks, all due to cheese made from unpasteurized milk, the outbreak report noted that the cheese was produced or sold illegally. Outbreaks caused by cheese made from pasteurized milk occurred most commonly (64%) in restaurant, delis, or banquet settings where cross-contamination was the most common contributing factor.

Conclusions: In addition to using pasteurized milk to make cheese, interventions to improve the safety of cheese include limiting illegal importation of cheese, strict sanitation and microbiologic monitoring in cheese-making facilities, and controls to limit food worker contamination.

UK – Sigma Aldrich – Free Seminar Day – Solutions for Analytical Challenges in Food Safety

Sigma Aldrich

This free-of-charge, full-day seminar on 12.06.2014 in Manchester provides an overview on recent developments for challenging applications in Food Safety such as analysis of mycotoxins, pesticides and other contaminants.
The seminar will also discuss approaches for reducing over analysis time, especially in sample preparation.

Scientists and lab technicians working in Food Safety will benefit most from this seminar

RASFF Alert – Aflatoxin – Chilli Pepper


RASFF – Aflatoxins (B1 = 5.8 µg/kg – ppb) in chilli pepper from India in the UK

RASFF Alert – Hepatitis A – Mussels


RASFF – Hepatitis A virus (presence) in frozen mussels (Ruditapes decussatus) from Tunisia in Italy

RASFF Alerts – Listeria monocytogenes – Cheese – Smoked Trout – E.coli – Cheese – Bacillus cereus – Edible Insects


RASFF -Listeria monocytogenes (180 CFU/g) in mascarpone gorgonzola from Italy in Austria

RASFF -Listeria monocytogenes (<10 CFU/g) in smoked trout fillet from Denmark in the Netherlands

RASFF -high count of Escherichia coli (2600 CFU/g) in cheese from Hungary in Finland

RASFF – Bacillus cereus (1.5x10e7; 4.8x10e5; 1.2x10e7; 1.8x10e6; 6.7x10e4; 2.9x10e6; >1.5x10e7; >1.5x10e7; 8.8x10e5 CFU/g) in edible insects from Thailand in the UK

RASFF Alerts – Animal Feed – Salmonella – Dog Chew – Rapeseed – Fish Meal – Aflatoxins – Maize


RASFF -Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in dog chew from Poland in Belgium

RASFF -Salmonella Meleagridis (presence /25g) in rapeseed expeller from Estonia in Germany

RASFF -Salmonella spp. (presence) in fish meal from Peru in France

RASFF -Aflatoxins (B1 = 881 µg/kg – ppb) in maize from India in Belgium


China – New Laws to Combat Prevalent Food Safety Issues

Food Safety News imagesCAIM0ZM7

In a move to clean up China’s international reputation for appalling food safety, new food safety laws will ban firms caught producing or selling unsafe foods from operating. As a result of these new laws, if a company’s food license is revoked, company executives and employees will not be allowed to work in the food industry for five years.