Control of pathogens in cheeses made from unpasteurised milk

18 December 2018

Article: 52/5006

A new report, prepared for Food Standards Scotland (FSS), outlines the scientific evidence on food safety controls, which can be used to reduce the risks of food poisoning bacteria in the production of raw milk cheeses.

The report by Dr Catherine Donnelly, ‘Review of controls for pathogen risks in Scottish artisan cheeses made from unpasteurised milk’, was prepared to supply evidence for Scottish artisan cheesemakers and enforcement officials in managing the microbiological safety of artisan cheeses, particularly those produced from unpasteurised milk. The main pathogens of concern posing a risk to the safety of cheeses made from unpasteurised milk are Listeria monocytogenes, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.

The three-part report covers:

  • the categorisation of commonly produced cheese types in Scotland and provides an overview of potential critical control points (CCPs) at each stage of the cheesemaking process, in order to control bacterial pathogens of primary concern
  • the analysis of currently available predictive models, challenge testing methods and results of challenge testing, providing evidence of the safety, or lack thereof, attained during cheesemaking
  • the analysis of microbiological and physicochemical results obtained from cheesemakers, as well as from the scientific literature and recommendations on testing targets and frequencies to assure process control and production of microbiologically safe products

Source: FSA, 12 December 2018