Norway finds STEC in products made from raw milk

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The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has detected Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) in four unpasteurized milk products.

Mattilsynet said 82 unpasteurized milk products were examined and STEC was isolated from three products from Norwegian companies and a French cheese. Stx genes were also detected in 20 samples.

E. coli O-, stx2a was found in a Norwegian-produced soft red cheese of cow's milk and rømme (a type of blue cheese) and E. coli O26, Stx1 and eae was in fresh cheese from goat milk.

E. coli O113, stx2d was detected in French chèvre.

Monitoring to build knowledge

From 2010 to 2015 the agency analysed for Listeria monocytogenes. In 2016, it looked for L. monocytogenes, E. coli as a hygienic parameter, pathogenic E. coli (STEC), Salmonella and enterotoxins from Staphylococcus aureus.

Mattilsynet took 714 samples of pasteurized and unpasteurized dairy products - mainly cheeses - as part of a monitoring program from 2010 to 2016 – including 184 samples last year.

Samples in 2016 consisted of 102 produced from pasteurized milk and 82 of unpasteurized milk from stores, importers and manufacturers.

These products consisted of cow's milk (139), goat (33), sheep (11) and a mixture of these (1).

The monitoring program was done to acquire knowledge on hygiene of dairy products on the Norwegian market.

Results give overview

No E. coli was found in pasteurized milk products over the detection limit of 10 colony forming units/g of sample.

L. monocytogenes was detected under the detection limit of 10 cfu/g in one sample of a pasteurized milk item from Norway in 2013.

A total of 82 unpasteurized milk products sampled in 2016 were analyzed for enterotoxins A-E, which some S. aureus can produce and enterotoxin was not detected.

Salmonella was not detected in 30 samples of unpasteurized milk products made outside of Norway.

Samples were analysed by The Norwegian Veterinary Institute.

Mattilsynet said the number of samples was too low to say anything about the state of the entire Norwegian market but results give an overview of the situation.

The agency added the report confirms its advice that children, immune suppressed people and pregnant women should avoid consumption of unpasteurized milk products.

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