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J Dairy Sci. 1990 Apr;73(4):912-28.

Listeria monocytogenes--threat to a safe food supply: a review.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706.

Abstract

Listeria monocytogenes can cause circling disease, encephalitis, meningitis, septicemia, and mastitis in dairy cattle. Shedding of the pathogen from the udder or contamination from the environment can lead to presence of L. monocytogenes in raw milk. Surveys indicate the pathogen is in about 4% of US raw milks. Although HTST pasteurization commonly inactivates L. monocytogenes, evidence suggests that under unusual circumstances minimal survival is possible. The pathogen grows well in liquid dairy products at 4 to 35 degrees C and achieves higher populations in chocolate than in unflavored milks. When present in cheese milk, growth of L. monocytogenes may be retarded but not stopped by lactic starter cultures. The pathogen is concentrated in the curd with only a small fraction of cells in milk appearing in whey. Once in curd, the behavior of the pathogen ranges from growth (feta cheese making) to death of most but not all cells (cottage cheese making). During ripening of cheese, the numbers of L. monocytogenes decrease gradually (as in Cheddar or Colby cheese), decrease precipitously early during ripening, and then stabilize (as in blue cheese) or increase markedly (as in Camembert cheese). Consumption of foods containing L. monocytogenes can lead to listeriosis in susceptible humans (adults with a compromised immune system), pregnant women, and infants). In large outbreaks of human listeriosis, mortality rates of ca. 30% are common.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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