June 01, 2005


 Position on pasteurization reaffirmed

Posted May 15, 2005

As recommended by the Council on Veterinary Service, the Executive Board reaffirmed the AVMA position statement titled Milk Quality—Pasteurization, as originally approved by the House of Delegates in 1980 and 1993. The position states:

Milk Quality — Pasteurization

The House of Delegates resolved that, inasmuch as apparently healthy cows and goats can shed in their milk organisms which are pathogenic to human beings and may cause diseases such as brucellosis, Campylobacter enteritis, salmonellosis, and tuberculosis; and inasmuch as milk handlers may introduce pathogenic agents during the handling of unpasteurized milk (including certified and raw milk), only pasteurized milk and milk products should be sold for human consumption. Be it further RESOLVED that in those states where the sale of unpasteurized milk is authorized, those products should be labeled "Not Pasteurized and May Contain Organisms that cause Human Disease." (HOD-7/80)

The House of Delegates, in July 1993, resolved that the AVMA directly and through each of its state and allied associations should promote passage of state laws requiring pasteurization of all milk to be sold within the state and consumed as fluid milk or to be used in the manufacture of dairy products. (HOD-Resolution 8-1993)

The board referred back to the council for further review the latter's recommendation to approve an updated position statement titled Milk Quality—Quality Assurance, because the board noted the revision included some obsolete information.

The board approved the council's recommendation to rescind the AVMA position on Recommended Minimal Standards of Performance for Practicing Veterinarians Who Offer Milk Quality Control Programs. The statement is elaborate and detailed, the format deviates from that of other AVMA position statements, and similar statements for performance of other veterinary procedures do not exist as AVMA position statements. The council further recognized that standards are readily available from sources closely aligned with the process.