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NZ Visitor Warning: E.coli detected in milk, listeria in yogurt

Posted by te2ataria on October 22, 2008

New Zealand Health Bulletin # 22. E.coli found in NZ milk, and listeria in yogurt products

E.coli bacteria was detected in milk from a dairy factory in New Zealand. The yogurt produced by the same factory was found to contain listeria.

The milk samples were found to contain “high levels” of E.coli. The contamination was most probably due to pasteurised milk coming into contact with fecal matter. E.coli can cause serious illnesses, including gastroenteritis.

The yogurt produced by the same factory, was found to contain listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes [Excerpt from Wikipedia]

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium commonly found in soil, stream water, sewage, plants, and food.[1] Each bacterium is gram-positive and rod-shaped. Listeria are known to be the bacteria responsible for listeriosis, a rare but lethal food-borne infection that has a devastating case fatality rate of 25%[2] (Salmonella, in comparison, has a less than 1% mortality rate[3]). They are incredibly hardy and able to grow in temperatures ranging from 4°C (39°F), the temperature of a refrigerator, to 37°C (99°F), the body’s internal temperature[1]. Furthermore, listerosis’s deadliness can be partially attributed to the infection’s ability to spread to the nervous system and cause meningitis.[1] Finally, Listeria has a particularly high occurrence rate in newborns because of its ability to infect the fetus by penetrating the endothelial layer of the placenta.[2]

Do NOT consume milk, or yogurt products from Happy Valley Dairies, bearing in mind that this may not be an isolated incident. Indeed, dairy products made by other New Zealand factories could be contaminated, since the dairy industry in NZ follows similar practices of food safety and hygiene.

On September 29, 2008, New Zealand’s Tatua Cooperative Dairy Company Ltd, one of the world’s largest exporters of dairy protein lactoferrin suspended exports because its products were found  to be contaminated by melamine.

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