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Listeria deaths

Printed From: Dairy Science and Food Technology
Category: Cheese quality
Forum Name: Cheese quality
Forum Description: Topics retaing to the quality of cheese
Printed Date: 26 Nov 2022 at 6:16pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.03 -

Topic: Listeria deaths
Posted By: riker
Subject: Listeria deaths
Date Posted: 15 Jul 2016 at 8:43pm
Anyone have a view what caused problem at Karoun Dairies, Inc? original link not working and removed.

Posted By: Admin
Date Posted: 15 Jul 2016 at 9:18pm
Caution. The post by Riker concerns a multistate outbreak in the US of Listeriosis linked to soft cheeses distributed by Karoun Dairies, Inc in California. There were several deaths hence this is a sensitive and serious matter and it is limited what comments I can permit in a public forum.

I will try to get contacts in the US to respond.

As I understand the situation, regulatory agencies in the US used epidemiologic and laboratory information to link 3-deaths and 28 hospital admissions to cheeses distributed by the company in California.

Listeria present in the processing environment were shown to be similar to the strains responsible for the outbreak. However, listeria were not isolated from the cheese.

I suppose some of the questions that can be posed include the conditions used to process the cheese (pasteurization of milk, environmental hygiene, use or otherwise of lactic starters or acidulants, factory layout etc); the pH, aw, salt concentration, the moisture concentration of the cheese (did the cheese produced support growth of listeria, relatively easy to model and lots of very good new work in this area) and temperatures used in distribution.

Normally quite high concentrations of listeria (in the millions) are required in healthy non-pregnant people before they get ill. So it may seem odd that no listeria were detected in the cheese.

However pathogens are not always uniformly distributed and following work by Dutch researchers working on Cronobacter spp. it is now clear that we cannot rely on current internationally agreed sampling (and cultural or genetic methods also) methods to be certain of detecting pathogens in food. It is also possible that the listeria possibly originally present in the cheese has declined to undetectable concentrations at sampling.

Can we limit the responses to the science in this tragic case please?

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