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.

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