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Coxiella burnetii and milk pasteurization: an early application of the precautionary principle?

  • O. CERF (a1) and R. CONDRON (a2)

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.

Corresponding author
École nationale vétérinaire d'Alfort, 7 avenue du Général de Gaulle, F-94700 Maisons-Alfort, France. (Email:
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
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