Project

Listeria in small-scale cheese production

Facts

Start 1. August 2009
End 31. July 2011
Funded by Foundation for Research Levy on Agricultural Products and research funding from the Agricultural Agreement.
In collaboration The project is a collaboration with Norwegian cheese producers, the National Veterinary Institute, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, Innovation Norway, Norsk Gardsost and the French competence centres AFSSA and Actilait.

The aim of the project is to increase the safety of small-scale cheese production. This is to be achieved by gaining more knowledge about which conditions can reduce infection of the products with Listeria.

It is an important goal to be able to give better practical advice to the producers, as well as updating knowledge-based recommendations of more appropriate and effective sample taking. This will help us to continue to enjoy the good taste of the great diversity of local cheeses from all over our country in the confidence that they are safe to eat.

What will be done in the project?
As a first stage, data will be collected from small-scale Norwegian cheese producers about products, production methods and traditions, environment and equipment. This is necessary because these factors can be very different from what we know from the major cheese producers, and also because there are wide variations between the different smaller producers. Following this review, interviews and visits will be carried out with selected producers to take a closer look at premises, equipment and the production process. This, together with similar information from France, will help to give us a better understanding of the process by which cheese becomes infected with Listeria and what factors can influence this.

It is a further aim of the project to look more closely at the Listeria strains that are showing up more frequently in cheese production. This will include investigation into how Listeria can survive on different materials and at different temperatures and whether varying growth conditions affect the bacteria's ability to cause illness. The interaction between Listeria and naturally occurring bacterial cultures and types of mould will also be studied more closely.

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