A quantitative risk assessment (RA) model was developed to describe the risk of campylobacteriosis linked to consumption of raw milk sold in vending machines in Italy. Exposure assessment was based on the official microbiological records of raw milk samples from vending machines monitored by the regional Veterinary Authorities from 2008 to 2011, microbial growth during storage, destruction experiments, consumption frequency of raw milk, serving size, consumption preference and age of consumers. The differential risk considered milk handled under regulation conditions (4. °C throughout all phases) and the worst time-temperature field handling conditions detected. Two separate RA models were developed, one for the consumption of boiled milk and the other for the consumption of raw milk, and two different dose-response (D-R) relationships were considered. The RA model predicted no human campylobacteriosis cases per year either in the best (4. °C) storage conditions or in the case of thermal abuse in case of boiling raw milk, whereas in case of raw milk consumption the annual estimated campylobacteriosis cases depend on the dose-response relationships used in the model (D-R I or D-R II), the milk time-temperature storage conditions, consumer behaviour and age of consumers, namely young (with two cut-off values of ≤5 or ≤6 years old for the sensitive population) versus adult consumers. The annual estimated cases for young consumers using D-R II for the sensitive population (≤5 years old) ranged between 1013.7/100,000 population and 8110.3/100,000 population and for adult consumers using D-R I between 79.4/100,000 population and 333.1/100,000 population. Quantification of the risks associated with raw milk consumption is necessary from a public health perspective and the proposed RA model represents a useful and flexible tool to perform future RAs based on local consumer habits to support decision-making on safety policies.Further educational programmes for raw milk consumers or potential raw milk consumers are required to encourage consumers to boil milk to reduce the associated risk of illness.
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