Terrible idea: UK kids meet animals at a raw milk farm

In the fall of 1998, I accompanied one of my four daughters on a kindergarten trip to the farm. After petting the animals and touring the crops – I questioned the fresh manure on the strawberries –we were assured that all the food produced was natural.

raw.milk.petting.zooWe then returned for unpasteurized apple cider. The host served the cider in a coffee urn, heated, so my concern about it being unpasteurized was abated. I asked: “Did you serve the cider heated because you heard about other outbreaks and were concerned about liability?” She responded, “No. The stuff starts to smell when it’s a few weeks old and heating removes the smell.”

But it’s all smiles at one Rimington farm as children enjoy the sunshine and all the farm has to offer.

Gazegill Farm in Rimington welcomes school groups and visitors to come to the farm and to have a look around.

Public health: It’s about resources

A shot rang out.

It was about 7:30 p.m. last night. I said to Amy that sounded like a gunshot, she said, nah, I grew up in Montana around guns, that wasn’t a gunshot.

revolver_webley_and_Scott_A_seriesIt was.

Ten minutes later we got an e-mail from the townhouse next door, saying a bullet had ripped through their walls.

We’ve lived beside these bogans for three years, but they’re getting worse.

The street was in lockdown, cops were negotiating with people inside the house, I was told to stay with Sorenne.

Talking to the two police officers this morning following up on the shooting – and this isn’t the U.S., they take such things seriously here – I said isn’t that house a drain on your resources. Don’t you have better things to do?


It’s the same with raw milk, anti-vaxxers and whatever else is out there: It’s a huge drain on public resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

Italian child in hospital with Listeria from homemade cheese

A child of 18 months in Vigevano, in the province of Pavia, is hospitalized in serious condition in the pediatric ward of the Policlinico San Matteo in Pavia due to listeriosis, after eating a homemade cheese made with unpasteurized milk.

cheese_mites430x300Talking with the parents of the young patient, doctors have learned in recent days that the child ate a cheese that had been prepared at home. Once arrived at San Matteo, the child has undergone brain surgery to reduce complications of meningoencephalitis.

Public health has better things to do: Increased outbreaks associated with nonpasteurized milk

The number of US outbreaks caused by nonpasteurized milk increased from 30 during 2007-2009 to 51 during 2010-2012. Most outbreaks were caused by Campylobacter spp. (77%) and by nonpasteurized milk purchased from states in which nonpasteurized milk sale was legal (81%).

rw.milk.outbreaks.2Regulations to prevent distribution of nonpasteurized milk should be enforced.

Increased outbreaks associated with nonpasteurized milk, United States, 2007-2012.

Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2015 Jan;21(1):119-22. doi: 10.3201/eid2101.140447.

Mungai EA, Behravesh CB, Gould LH.


Australian farmer prosecuted for supplying unpasteurised milk under cow share scheme

Mark Tyler of South Australia says the raw milk distributed from his 50 or so cows at his Willunga Hill property to shareholders who paid $30 plus a fortnightly boarding fee, then picked up their milk regularly from the farm, is safe.

colbert.raw.milkA judge didn’t agree.

The Tylers could face a fine of up to $50,000 for breaching food regulations.

Raw milk sales are illegal and the South Australian Government argued the couple’s “cow share” arrangement constituted a sale under the Food Act.

“We’ve got over 2,000 people drinking it every day, really no one’s having an issue,” said Tyler.

“There’s virtually no proven cases of raw milk causing illness in people.”


There has been a push by legislators to crack down on raw milk sales across Australia since a three-year-old Victorian boy died last year.

This is happening: Baby formula made of raw milk in US

The Washington Post reports that three years ago, after giving birth to her daughter, Nancy Noe had to accept the disappointing fact that she wasn’t producing enough breast milk to feed her baby.

colbert.raw.milkAfter trying everything—like frequent pumping and help from a lactation consultant—she did what she considered the next best thing: she went in search of the most organic baby formula she could find. “Reading the ingredients on the commercial formulas hardly made me feel any better,” Noe said recently. “I had no idea what any of this stuff was. I wanted another option.”

Then that she came across a recipe for a make-at-home formula created by the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), whose stated mission is to restore nutrient-dense foods to the American diet. The formula is made using raw, or unpasteurized, cow’s milk and 13 additional ingredients—like homemade whey, lactose, gelatin, and healthy oils—designed to mimic the fat and nutrients in human breast milk.

Nancy was nervous to feed raw milk to her 7-week-old baby, and it initially didn’t go well. Her daughter experienced cheese-like vomiting, strange colored stool, and a lot of upset. “At first I thought, ‘What am I doing?’ ” Noe said. “But after two weeks, she began to thrive. She grew well, slept well, and loved her bottle. She’s now a very healthy 3-year-old.”

But the idea of a do-it-yourself formula—especially one made with raw milk— unsurprisingly has very vocal opponents.

“The idea that you would feed raw milk to an infant is completely insane,” says Katherine Lilleskov, a Brooklyn-based lactation consultant and RN. “With their weakened immune systems, infants are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria. It’s our job to keep our babies away from that stuff, not willingly feed it to them.

The WAPF formula was first developed nearly 20 years ago by Sally Fallon Morell, the foundation’s founding president, and nutritionist Mary Enig, early advocates for whole foods. Since then, Fallon estimates, nearly 20,000 families have used her recipe to feed their babies, and the number of parents experimenting with the formula doesn’t seem to show signs of abating. Fallon argues that the formula provides immune-stimulating, health-promoting, and antimicrobial components very similar to human breast milk, and hears often from parents happy to have found an alternative to commercial formula.


Campylobacter jejuni infection associated with raw milk consumption – Utah, 2014

To be presented at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 64th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) conference April 20-23 in Atlanta.

colbert.raw.milkSummary: Despite routine testing, raw milk from a Utah dairy sickened 99 people with Campylobacter; 1 died and 10 were hospitalized. A 2-month shutdown failed to stop the outbreak and the dairy’s raw milk permit was revoked.


Background: In Utah, raw milk sales are legal from farm to consumer. Despite routine bacterial and coliform

counts by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF), raw milk-related illnesses occur. In May 2014, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) identified a cluster of 3 Campylobacter jejuni infections with indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns. All patients reported consuming Dairy A’s raw milk. Routine testing of UDAF-licensed Dairy A’s raw milk was acceptable. We investigated to identify a source and prevent additional infections.

Methods: UDAF used onsite milk neutralization technique to preserve C. jejuni during testing. Utah’s electronic disease surveillance system identified cases. Confirmed illness was defined as diarrhea caused by C. jejuni matching the cluster PFGE pattern. Probable illness was diarrhea and contact with a confirmed patient or raw milk purchased from Dairy A. Confirmed patients were interviewed by using a standardized questionnaire.

Results: During May 9–July 31, a total of 89 (52 confirmed and 37 probable) cases were identified. Eleven (21.2%) confirmed patients were hospitalized; 1 died. Twenty-five (48.1%) confirmed patients reported having consumed Dairy A raw milk. Fifteen (28.8%) confirmed patients reported having eaten queso fresco. Dairy A’s raw milk yielded C. jejuni with the cluster PFGE pattern. UDAF suspended Dairy A’s raw milk permit on August 4 for 2 months. Additional cases occurred in November; UDAF revoked Dairy A’s raw milk permit on December 1.

Conclusions: Routine testing of raw milk does not ensure its safety. Mandatory reporting, timely sample collection, pathogen testing, and onsite milk neutralization likely led to C. jejuni detection. Linking case and raw milk PFGE patterns might identify the source and allow implementation of control measures.

Listeria in raw milk, again

Public health types got other things to do than police the raw milk biz, especially when there is an alternative – pasteurization.

raw.milk.claravale (1)New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today warned consumers in Sullivan County and the surrounding area not to consume unpasteurized raw farm milk from the Richard Dirie Farm due to possible Listeria contamination.  The Dirie Farm is located at 1345 Shandelee Road, Livingston Manor, New York, 12758.

A sample of the milk, collected by an inspector from the department’s Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services on April 7, 2015 was subsequently tested by the Department’s Food Laboratory and discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.     

On April 9, 2015, the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result. He volunteered to suspend raw milk sales until the sample results were confirmed.  Further laboratory testing, completed on April 15, 2015, confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the raw milk sample.  The producer is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that the product is free of harmful bacteria.

To date, the department knows of no illnesses associated with this product.

Because when food safety is in question, ask a politician: UK raw milk producer back in business after ban

The North Devon farming family banned last year by the Food Standards Authority from selling their raw milk and cheese is back in action after a six-month ordeal.

baton.farm_.dairy_-300x200And their return to production has won warm feedback from hundreds of well wishers.

But the Wrights of Barton Farm, Kentisbury, are still in the dark about the allegations made about their milk and any connection with cases of E coli food poisoning.

They sought the help of North Devon MP Nick Harvey to try to have restrictions on their farm lifted.

A report about the FSA investigation into half a dozen cases is due to be published at the end of April.

Meanwhile Barton Farm has just won a Good Dairy Award from Compassion in World Farming.

Linda and husband Gary were stopped from selling their raw milk and cheese six months ago when the FSA said it was investigating half a dozen cases of food poisoning which officials linked with the bacteria E coli.

Although the FSA attributed the sickness to raw milk bought from Barton Farm Gary and Linda have had no evidence to link the two.

They recently sought the help of North Devon MP, Nick Harvey, who has contacted the FSA to find out why the restrictions on Barton Farm were continuing so long.

“The lifting of restrictions came out of the blue,” said Gary. “I had gone to Nick Harvey who’s been following our case.

“I can’t say that’s the reason but it’s a coincidence.”