Milk and dairy products provide a wealth of nutrition benefits. However, from time to time, there are reports that cheese made from raw milk was contaminated with harmful bacteria and implicated in outbreaks of foodborne diseases.
Raw milk is milk from animals such as cows, sheep, or goats that has not been heat treated to kill harmful bacteria. Raw milk can be contaminated by bacteria in a number of ways, such as from infected animals and the dairy farm environment. Raw, unpasteurised milk can contain pathogens such as Listeria and Salmonella, which are responsible for causing a number of foodborne illnesses. These bacteria are especially dangerous to children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.
Members of the public, the susceptible populations in particular, should take note of the following advice when buying cheese:
- Read food labels and choose cheeses carefully before consumption.
- Hard and extra hard cheeses are generally safe.
- Avoid soft cheeses (e.g. Feta, Brie, Camembert) and blue cheeses (e.g. Danish blue, Gorgonzola and Roquefort).
- For other types of cheeses, choose only those made from pasteurised milk.
- Do not eat if in doubt.
- Store cheese products strictly in accordance with the instructions on the labels.
- A batch of French raw cow's milk cheese contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (15 May 2015)
- Five kinds of French goat cheese from raw milk contaminated with Salmonella (13 May 2015)
- A French raw sheep's milk cheese suspected to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (11 May 2015)
- French raw sheep's milk cheese suspected to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (7 May 2015)
- French raw cow's milk cheese suspected to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (16 April 2015)