Submitted by David Green
It is disgraceful that the above outbreak is
already being associated with unpasteurised milknotably
by those campaigning to ban its use.
Data already available make it clear that the
farm with which the outbreak has been associated was selling pasteurised
milk. And that if that farm was the source, the reason was either
a failure in the pasteurisation process or contamination of the
milk after pasteurisationwhen it is even more vulnerable
to re-infection because all competing bacteria have been eliminated.
Public comment has also failed to emphasise that the large proportion
of infections attributed to dairy products is found in those which
have been pasteurised.
I add these further points:
(1) Coliform bacteria (of any type) only
enter milk and its products as the result of faecal contamination.
(2) Producers and processors of raw milk
are fully conscious of the riskto them and their customersand
adopt stringent dairy hygiene regimes to guard against it. Producers
of milk destined for subsequent pasteurisation rely on that as
a safeguard and are inevitably more relaxed in their precautions.
(3) This fact is recognisable from hard data.
Standard MAFF milk tests regard milk as acceptable with a coliform
count of 100 per ml or less. A raw milk producer I know well (whose
product is additionally safeguarded because it is then made into
long matured hard pressed cheese which has well known natural
antibiotic qualities) consistently turns in MAFF tests with a
Coliform count of 1 per ml or less100 times below the level
deemed acceptable by MAFF.
The end result is that milk destined for subsequent
pasteurisation inherently presents a higher public health risk
than milk intended for raw use. Its initial quality adds no additional
safeguard if pasteurisation fails or is by-passed by subsequent