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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Raw Milk Cheese – 50 to 160 Times Greater Risk of Listeria

On Friday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a draft quantitative assessment of the risk of listeriosis from soft-ripened cheese consumption in the United States and Canada. The risk assessment is a joint effort between FDA and Health Canada. View the Federal Register Notice for the assessment.

The new FDA/Health Canada draft risk assessment found that the risk of listeriosis from soft-ripened cheeses made with raw milk is estimated to be 50 to 160 times higher than that from soft-ripened cheese made with pasteurized milk. This finding is consistent with the fact that consuming raw milk and raw milk products generally poses a higher risk from pathogens than do pasteurized milk and its products.

While raw milk and raw milk products put all consumers at risk, the bacteria they may contain can be especially dangerous to people with weakened immune systems, older adults, pregnant women and children. View guidelines for avoiding illness by choosing milk and milk products carefully.

FDA invites comments that can help FDA and Health Canada improve:

  • the approach used;
  • the assumptions made;
  • the modeling techniques;
  • the data used; and
  • the clarity and transparency of the draft quantitative risk assessment documentation.

To submit comments electronically, go to docket FDA-2012-N-1182 on regulations.gov. The comment period opens February 11, 2013 for 75 days.