A survey of foodborne pathogens in bulk tank milk and raw milk consumption among farm families in pennsylvania

J Dairy Sci. 2006 Jul;89(7):2451-8. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(06)72318-9.


A 2-part study was conducted to determine the risk of exposure to human pathogens from raw milk. The first part of the study focused on determining raw milk consumption habits of dairy producers. A total of 248 dairy producers from 16 counties in Pennsylvania were surveyed. Overall, 105 (42.3%) of the 248 dairy producers consumed raw milk and 170 (68.5%) of the 248 dairy producers were aware of foodborne pathogens in raw milk. Dairy producers who were not aware of foodborne pathogens in raw milk were 2-fold more likely to consume raw milk compared with dairy producers who were aware of foodborne pathogens. The majority of dairy producers who consumed raw milk indicated that taste (72%) and convenience (60%) were the primary factors for consuming raw milk. Dairy producers who resided on the dairy farm were nearly 3-fold more likely to consume raw milk compared with those who lived elsewhere. In the second part of the study, bulk tank milk from the 248 participating dairy herds was examined for foodborne pathogens. Campylobacter jejuni (2%), Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (2.4%), Listeria monocytogenes (2.8%), Salmonella (6%), and Yersinia enterocolitica (1.2%) were detected in the milk samples. Salmonella isolates were identified as S. enterica serotype Typhimurium (n = 10) and S. enterica serotype Newport (n = 5). Of the 248 bulk tank milk samples, 32 (13%) contained > or = 1 species of bacterial pathogens. The findings of the study could assist in developing farm community-based educational programs on the risks of consuming raw milk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Bacterial Infections / transmission
  • Campylobacter jejuni / isolation & purification
  • Dairying / instrumentation
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Food Handling / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Food Handling / methods
  • Humans
  • Listeria monocytogenes / isolation & purification
  • Milk / microbiology*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Salmonella / isolation & purification
  • Salmonella enterica / classification
  • Salmonella enterica / isolation & purification
  • Serotyping
  • Yersinia enterocolitica / isolation & purification