Unpasteurised milk linked to salmonella outbreak
Published 20/06/2011 | 05:00
CONSUMERS have been warned about the health risks of drinking unpasteurised milk following an outbreak of salmonella.
A 30-year-old man and his three-year-old niece were diagnosed with the food poisoning bug on a family farm in Kildare last year, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has revealed in a report.
They both drank unpasteurised -- or raw -- milk produced by cows on the farm before contracting salmonella.
Salmonella is potentially life-threatening for people with low defences, older people and the very young.
The warning comes as new legislation is to be introduced here in the autumn banning the sale of unpasteurised milk.
It continues to be a staple on the kitchen tables of many dairy farm families.
It is also sold in many markets around the country to people who prefer it to pasteurised milk because of its richer taste and higher vitamin content.
Most milk consumed in Ireland has been commercially pasteurised, which means it has been heated to a high temperature in order to to kill off any bacteria present.
"Although most healthy people will recover from raw milk-related illness within a short period, individuals with weakened immune systems such as children, pregnant women, the elderly and those suffering from chronic debilitating illnesses are particularly at risk, and are more susceptible to severe or life-threatening infections," the report said.
"The most effective way to protect public health is to ensure that raw milk intended for direct human consumption is pasteurised."