Benefits and Potential Risks of the Lactoperoxidase system of Raw Milk Preservation
Report of an FAO/WHO Technical Meeting FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy, 28 November - 2 December, 2005
This technical meeting was jointly organised by the Animal Production and the Food Quality and Standards Services of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in cooperation with the Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Foodborne Disease of the World Health Organization (WHO) to obtain the best available scientific advice on issues related to the use of the lactoperoxidase system (LP-s) in raw milk preservation. After reviewing the available scientific information (References, Appendix A and B), the technical meeting concluded that the LP-s is a safe method of preventing milk losses due to microbial spoilage when used according to the Codex guidelines either alone or in combination with other approved procedures. The LP-s is particularly suitable for application in situations where technical, economical and/or practical reasons do not allow the use of cooling facilities for maintaining the quality of raw milk. Use of the LPs does not preclude or replace the need for the pasteurization of raw milk to improve safety for human consumption. Post harvest losses are a major issue in dairying in developing countries. Smallholder dairy farmers could increase their participation in worldwide milk production, processing and marketing if they could reduce their losses using any approved milk preservation method. Refrigeration is the preferred means of milk preservation but does require high capital investment and can incur high running and maintenance costs. The LP-s provides a cost effective method to increase the availability of milk that contributes to income generation, household food security and nutrition in developing countries. The LP-s elicits antimicrobial activity against a wide variety of milk spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms including bacteria, HIV-1 virus, moulds, yeasts, mycoplasma and protozoa. Furthermore, the LP-s does not promote the growth of pathogenic microorganisms after completion of the bacteriostatic effect1. The activated LP-s is effective in raw milk of different species, the overall activity being primarily bacteriostatic2, depending on the initial total bacterial load, species and strains of contaminating bacteria and the temperature of milk.