The Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee (SFELC) has endorsed guidance produced by their Joint Specialist Cheese and Risky Foods Short-Life Working Group on the production of cheese from unpasteurised milk.
The guidance aims to control the microbiological risks in the production of artisan cheeses made from unpasteurised milk, specifically Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli(STEC). The guidance applies to all establishments producing cheese made from unpasteurised milk from cows, goats, sheep and buffalo.
Cheese made from unpasteurised milk has been linked to outbreaks of human illness and in particular, illness caused by STEC organisms including E. coli O157. The guidance has been developed in relation to the control of STEC and is intended for use during the inspection and enforcement of food safety controls applied by cheesemakers producing cheese made from unpasteurised milk.
The guidance reflects current scientific knowledge and understanding in relation to STEC and the production of cheese from unpasteurised milk. As scientific information and evidence on STEC evolves, the guidance will be reviewed. In addition, the guidance will complete a pilot implementation phase before a scheduled review.
The guidance is available to view at: https://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/downloads/SFELC_Document.pdf.
Details of a recent report on pathogen risks in unpasteurised cheese in Scotland can be viewed on the HPS weekly report, current note 52/5006: http://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/ewr/redirect.aspx?id=78563.