Overview of Food Safety Hazards in the European Dairy Supply Chain: Food safety hazards in the dairy chain

E.D. Van Asselt*, Ine van der Fels, H.J.P. Marvin, H. Van Bokhorst-van De Veen, M. Nierop Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


Monitoring of dairy products should preferably focus on the most relevant food safety hazards in the dairy supply chain. For this purpose, the possible presence of microbiological, chemical, and physical hazards as well as trends in the dairy supply chain that may affect their presence were assessed. A literature review was combined with available data from EFSA, RASFF, and the Dutch monitoring program on chemical hazards as well as expert information. This study revealed that microbiological hazards are encountered more frequently in dairy products than chemical and physical hazards. Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, and human pathogenic Escherichia coli were identified as the most important microbiological hazards in dairy products. Soft and semisoft cheeses are most frequently associated with L. monocytogenes and S. aureus enterotoxins, whereas raw milk is most frequently associated with human pathogenic E. coli and Campylobacter spp., Cronobacter spp., and Salmonella spp. are the microbiological hazards of most concern in powdered infant formula. Based on literature, monitoring, and RASFF data, the most relevant chemical hazards in dairy products are aflatoxin M1, dioxins, and dioxin-like compounds and residues of veterinary drugs. Chemical hazards primarily occur at the dairy farm and may accumulate during further processing. The most relevant physical hazards are metal, glass, and plastic particles introduced during processing. Analysis of trends in the near future revealed that increased milk production is seen as most relevant in relation to food safety. Other trends affecting food safety are climate change and changes at the farm level, which aim to improve animal welfare and environmental sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-75
JournalComprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • (raw) dairy products
  • chemical hazards
  • microbiological hazards
  • physical hazards


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