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Campylobacter jejuni was isolated from 1 to 108 (0.9%) milk samples obtained from the bulk tanks of nine grade A dairy farms and from 50 of 78 (64%) cows producing grade A milk. Survival of eight Campylobacter strains in unpasteurized milk (4 degrees C) varied greatly: the most tolerant strain showed a less than 2-log10 decrease in viable cells after 14 days, and the most sensitive strain showed a greater than 6-log10 decrease after 7 days. One strain was still recoverable 21 days after the inoculation of milk. Inactivation of the different strains corresponded with an increase in milk aerobic plate count and a decrease in milk pH; however, no absolute correlation could be made between the rates of change of these parameters and the rates of campylobacter inactivation. When held at 4 degrees C, C. jejuni was most stable in brucella broth, died most rapidly in unpasteurized milk, and was inactivated at an intermediate rate in sterile milk. Our results indicate the presence and possible persistence of C. jejuni in raw grade A milk and reaffirm the need for pasteurization of milk.