Chris Brunner – July 1, 2020

A study recently published in the journal Microbiome reports on reservoirs of antimicrobial resistance genes in retail raw milk. Dr. Michele Jay-Russell is co-author of the study that found raw or unpasteurized cows’ milk from U.S. retail stores can hold a huge number of antimicrobial-resistant genes if left at room temperature.  Jay-Russell is Interim Director of the UC Davis Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, and Program Manager of the UC Davis Western Center for Food Safety. Solving the mysteries of food safety risks has been a driving force in her career. As a food safety veterinarian she is recognized for her work on studies about the risk from wild animals in food-borne pathogen contamination of plants, and you may have caught her in the NPR edition of The Salt, What’s on Your Plate, when they asked the question, Why Slather This Spinach Field In Poop? It’s All For Science.

As a microbiologist, Jay-Russell has long had a passion for raising people’s awareness of hot topics that surround raw milk, such as safety, homeopathic advantages, and the laws and regulations that govern the sale of raw milk. She is co-author of the website: Real Raw Milk Facts. She says the website is designed to present straight forward, evidenced-based facts and studies so that consumers can make informed choices, especially when it comes to their children. You can also find RawMilkFacts on Twitter at @RawMilkFacts. Watch for the website’s new look being launched by WIFSS and collaborators.

The recent study, Reservoirs of antimicrobial resistance genes in retail raw milk, was led by Drs. Jinxin Liu and David Mills from the Mills Lab in Food Science and Technology (FST), with other co-authors including Yuanting Zhu also from FST, and Dr. Danielle Lemay from the USDA-ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center. The study concludes that there is the potential for a high level of antibiotic-resistant bacteria with any temperature abuse in raw milk. Moreover, the bacteria can grow, and the raw milk is not just going to spoil, it’s a really high risk if not handled correctly.

This video byte provides an overview of the study.

Read full review of the story in the UC Davis Food & Agriculture Raw Milk May Do More Harm Than Good, by Amy Quinton to learn more about the study and its authors.