EC funded project examining use of high voltage nano pulses to sterilize raw milk
Italian firm Laserlam, which specializes in laser cutting, was awarded €50,000 ($56,700) by the EC last month to "explore the feasibility of introducing to the market a small milk sterilizer."
Its patent-pending technology - dubbed EMILK - produces a high voltage nano pulsed electric discharge.
If commercialized, EMILK would be used "mainly by farmers selling directly their fresh dairy products through vending machines."
“Raw milk sterilizing solutions that keep intact nutrients and organoleptic qualities, while ensuring the standards of hygiene and safety, are required to enable more Europeans to enjoy raw milk," the proposal brief reads.
“The feasibility study intends to check the attractiveness of the innovation to the market, define the opportunities both for the integration of the device in milk vending machines and for further developments, through identification of partners in the dairy industry supply chain," it continues.
The project, which is scheduled to run from September 1 2015 to March 1 2016, is budgeted to cost a total of €71,000 ($80,500).
The sale of raw milk for human consumption is permitted in the European Union (EU), but Member States may establish their own national rules to prohibit or restrict the marketing of the unpasteurised product.
Some EU Member States, including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and the UK (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) allow restricted sales to consumers.
Sales of raw milk for human consumption is also permitted through vending machines in some EU Member States, including Italy, Slovakia, Austria, France, the Czech Republic and Lithuania.
Earlier this year, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said the risks associated with drinking raw milk should be better communicated to consumers.
In a Scientific Opinion delivered by its Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ), EFSA highlighted the “clear link” between the consumption of unpasteurised milk and a long list of illnesses with “potential sever health consequences in some individual patients.”
Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Brucella melitensis, Mycobacterium bovis, and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) were identified by the BIOHAZ Panel as the “main hazards.”
“There is a need for improved risk communication to consumers, particularly susceptible/high risk populations, regarding the hazards ad controls methods associated with consumption of RDM [raw drinking milk],” it said.