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What effects of climate change on the microbiology of dairy products?

Climate change
Analysis of the potential impacts of climate change on microbial risks in the dairy industry

Climate change is expected to affect many sectors of the food production chain. This synthesis presents an overview of the possible effects of climate change on the microbiological safety of the dairy industry supply chain and suggests strategies to mitigate their impact. Raw milk, a common raw material for dairy products, is sensitive to climate change, as its quality can be affected by fluctuations in ambient temperature and the amount of precipitation. Climate change can induce microbial changes and stress in lactating cows, with a risk of increased vulnerability to microbial infections and a risk of higher microbial contamination of milk. In addition, climate change affects the entire dairy supply chain and requires  the adaptation of all the current food safety management programs. In particular, the review of current programs could be necessary, in particular the current microbial specifications of the receiving dairy products and the introduction of new pretreatments with more stringent processing regimes. There is also a need to quantify the effects on the microbiology of dairy products during distribution and handling by consumers using predictive models. The development of quantitative microbial risk assessment models (QMRA), considering the entire chain from farm to fork to assess risk reduction strategies, will be a key step in prioritizing actions in favor of dairy industry resilient to climate change.

Partners :

This study was carried out by UMR INRAE Secalim in the framework of the ITN European project PROTECT (http://www.protect-itn.eu/).

Associated publication:

Feliciano, R. J., G. Boué and J.-M. Membré 2020. Overview of the potential impacts of climate change on the microbial safety of the dairy industry. Foods 9(12). https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121794.