SCD yogurt safety concerns – considering new MAP research

A newly published research article raises growing concerns about the safety of dairy products.

The research was conducted by Michael Collins, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in cooperation with Irene Grant from the Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom, shows a high survival rate of MAP bacteria in powdered milk products.
The study authors concluded: “the broader food safety implications of detecting viable MAP in this type of dried dairy product are not insignificant given that powdered infant formulae is consumed by young babies with immature immune systems.”

One important conclusion for SCD dieters has to do with safe yogurt preparation. The classic SCD recipe calls for heating the milk to 180F when preparing yogurt.

Professor Collins replied to our question on the subject: “The best data available suggests that the 90C (194F) for 60 seconds assures 100% MAP kill. So, simply recommending boiling will be the safest way to go. There is nothing else about yogurt making that will impact MAP viability much.”

Professor Collins added: “There are no concrete guidelines about limiting the risk of MAP exposure. There simply is not enough quality data on MAP in foods to offer any rational risk assessment, i.e. is milk more risky than yogurt or red meat or tap water. This is further complicated by the fact that dead MAP bacteria could act as an allergen in the gut of selected susceptible individuals. So knowing where we find live MAP in food may not be sufficient.
As a very general guide, the more steps in the processing of food the better: e.g., raw milk is riskier than HTST pasteurized milk which is probably risker than UHT or boiled milk. Soft, fresh, high-moisture cheese is riskier than aged hard cheese… Beyond that it is all guess work (until further research provides more data).”

Professor Collins no longer offers any testing of humans through his lab, and generally refers people interested in human MAP testing to Dr. Todd Kuenstner.

While the medical community is still waiting for results from Red Hill MAP trial, it seems that Quest Diagnostics is working separately on developing a new human MAP test. The future may offer more answers and clear protocols, but until then, people can chose their own comfort zone in terms of food safety.

Read more about this study here

To understand the concerns regarding MAP in humans read these previous posts 



    • People have contacted me with questions about the safety of cheese, goat milk, and yogurt temperatures. As Professor Collins has clarified, there are no clear guidelines at this time. Note that Professor Collins is a MAP expert and not an SCD advisor, so his answers relate to food safety in general. My own personal comfort level leads me to heat milk to 200F and keep it at that temperature until just before it boils over. The reason I say 200F and not 194F is due to the variance in kitchen thermometer accuracy.

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