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Dairy Management Practices and the Transmission of Zoonotic Pathogens in Milk


<li> Determine the environmental compartments within dairy farming systems
that support the survival of the zoonotic pathogens Salmonella enterica, Escherichia
coli, and Listeria monocytogenes and characterize their contribution to the pathogen
content of milk.
<li> Characterize the role of management practices in the introduction and
maintenance of Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli, and Listeria monocytogenes on
dairy farms and evaluate changes in management practices that might reduce or
eliminate pathogens.
<li> Use molecular typing methods to determine the relationship between
isolates of Listeria, Salmonella, and pathogenic E. coli from dairy cows, the farm
environment, and from bulk tank milk with those known to have caused human disease.
<li> Develop new methods for the rapid and sensitive detection of Bacillus
anthracis and Listeria monocytogenes in bulk tank milk and milk products. </ol>

More information

Although pasteurization and regulations controlling the processing of any products
made with unpasteurized milk have an excellent record of assuring the biological
safety of dairy products marketed in the US, there is increasing concern about the
presence of zoonotic pathogenic microorganisms in raw milk. For various cultural
and economic reasons the consumption of raw milk and desire for products made from
raw milk seems to be increasing and outbreaks of food-borne gastrointestinal disease
due to contamination of dairy products have been documented. This project focuses on
the ecology of the zoonotic bacterial pathogens Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes,
and Escherichia coli on dairy farms in the Northeastern United States, and the
relationship of the pathogens found in farm animals and the farm environment with
those found in bulk tank milk from those farms. Intensive longitudinal sampling will
be performed on three 'typical' farms with collection of milk, milk filters, blood,
feces, and various environmental samples. We will analyze samples for the three
pathogens by both molecular and culture techniques; collaborators will analyze
samples for MAP, Campylobacter, and enterococci. Molecular characterization
techniques will be used to equate any pathogens found in bulk tank milk with those
found on the farm. Management changes will be suggested to the farmers and the
results of those changes will be documented. The relationships between Listeria
monocytogenes from the farm and those associated with human disease will be
investigated. Methods will be developed for improved detection of bacterial
pathogens in milk and environmental samples.

Van Kessel , Jo Ann; Karns, Jeffrey
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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