Short communication: Investigation into Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis in pasteurized milk in Italy

J Dairy Sci. 2017 Jan;100(1):118-123. doi: 10.3168/jds.2016-11627. Epub 2016 Nov 3.


This study investigated the presence of viable Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) in pasteurized milk produced by Italian industrial dairy plants to verify the prediction of a previously performed risk assessment. The study analyzed 160 one-liter bottles of pasteurized milk from 2 dairy plants located in 2 different regions. Traditional cultural protocols were applied to 500mL of pasteurized milk for each sample. The investigation focused also on the pasteurization parameters and data on the microbiological characteristics of raw milk (total bacterial count) and pasteurized milk (Enterobacteriaceae and Listeria monocytogenes). No sample was positive for MAP, the pasteurization parameters complied with European Union legislation, and the microbiological analysis of raw and pasteurized milk showed good microbiological quality. The results show that a 7-log (or >7) reduction could be a plausible value for commercial pasteurization. The combination of hygiene practices at farm level and commercial pasteurization yield very low or absent levels of MAP contamination in pasteurized milk, suggesting that pasteurized milk is not a significant source of human exposure to MAP in the dairies investigated.

Keywords: Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis; pasteurized milk.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Italy
  • Microbial Viability*
  • Milk / microbiology*
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis / isolation & purification*
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis / physiology
  • Pasteurization