Wednesday 3 July 2013

Clean milk

If you buy your milk from a supermarket you can take it for granted that it is clean and pretty much free of pathogens after it has been pasteurised. In Scotland you cannot sell unpasteurised milk. But we produce a small amount of goat's milk each day, about 3.5 litres for domestic consumption and it isn't pasteurised so is there a health risk?

Three quantitative microbial risk assessments (QMRAs), the gold standard of microbial risk assessment, recently published in the Journal of Food Protection have shown that unpasteurised milk is a low risk food, contrary to previous claims that it has a high risk profile and contrary to a long held scientific view that raw milk is high risk. So where does that leave us?

The test samples were probably from commercial dairy herds where the milk travels in a closed system from the cow to a filter and then a refrigerated bulk tank. Then to a milk processing plant where it is filtered again, pasteurised and kept at less than 4C until you buy it.

Our milk goes through the air from goat to bucket, hair and other stuff can fall into the bucket, the milk is then filtered and rapidly cooled in a chest freezer. To get clean milk we first make sure that the goat's udder is clean and dry, that or hands are clean and dry and any long hairs on the udder have been brushed or trimmed off.

So far no problems...... I have milk on my breakfast cereals and in my coffee, we've made cheese, yoghurt and kefir with no ill effects. Oh yes..... and it doesn't taste "goaty". I also have to admit I didn't read the Journal of Food Protection, there was a summary in the Wall Street Journal on June 11th.

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