Stringency of milk pasteurization has been established on requirements for Coxiella burnetii as being the most heat-resistant organisms of public heath significance. This paper discusses the estimation of the efficiency of pasteurization time/temperature combinations as required in regulations for food safety. Epidemiological studies have been interpreted as C. burnetii being a significant pathogen causing clinical disease through ingestion of milk. The paper examines the evidence and challenges the designation of C. burnetii as a foodborne pathogen. Consequently it questions the need for pasteurization parameters to be established on its heat resistance characteristics.
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