Research – Transmission Scenarios of Listeria monocytogenes on Small Ruminant On-Farm Dairies

MDPI

Abstract

Listeria monocytogenes can cause severe foodborne infections in humans and invasive diseases in different animal species, especially in small ruminants. Infection of sheep and goats can occur via contaminated feed or through the teat canal. Both infection pathways result in direct (e.g., raw milk from an infected udder or fresh cheese produced from such milk) or indirect exposure of consumers. The majority of dairy farmers produces a high-risk product, namely fresh cheese made from raw ewe’s and goat’s milk. This, and the fact that L. monocytogenes has an extraordinary viability, poses a significant challenge to on-farm dairies. Yet, surprisingly, almost no scientific studies have been conducted dealing with the hygiene and food safety aspects of directly marketed dairy products. L. monocytogenes prevalence studies on small ruminant on-farm dairies are especially limited. Therefore, it was our aim to focus on three main transmission scenarios of this important major foodborne pathogen: (i) the impact of caprine and ovine listerial mastitis; (ii) the significance of clinical listeriosis and outbreak scenarios; and (iii) the impact of farm management and feeding practices.

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