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.”

Salmonella in raw milk cheese in Denmark

Salmonella has been found in a batch of cheeses from the manufacturer Wernersson Cheese Denmark in Stellenbosch, the company said in a statement.

Roquefort-Papillon-Noir-low_720x540_acf_cropped-720x540These are labeled ‘Roquefort Papillon Noir’ with durability date of 5 jun 2015.

The cheese is sold to wholesalers and retail stores throughout the country during the period 10 March to 30 March 2015.

In a press release from the Food Administration, it appears that there is a raw milk cheese made from sheep’s milk. Osten revoked now because of the prevalence of salmonella.

Want to keep supermarket customers? Don’t sell moldy food

As traditional grocery stores continue to lose market share and wonks advise adding bars and a fishmonger, the New South Wales Food Authority (that’s in Australia) has a better tip: don’t sell out-of-date and moldy food.

ColesNewLogo9pinSeveral Coles, Woolworths and IGA stores make up the 1293 listings on the government’s online penalty register, which publishes the names of businesses that have breached food safety laws.

In the past year inspectors fined IGA supermarkets almost $10,000 for breaches spanning from Western Sydney to the Murray region.

The chain’s Nabiac store, in the Great Lakes area, was caught out selling potato salad, herb bread, yoghurt and pickled fish up to two weeks past their use by date, while an IGA store in Blacktown had “expired food exhibiting mould.’’

Inspectors found old smoked salmon at an IGA Liquor store in Wangi, in Lake Macquarie, while two outlets in Minchinbury were found to be selling expired products, including dips.

A company spokesman said responsibility for breaches was on the individual store owner. “However repeated breaches of food safety regulations will see the owner’s business de-bannered as an IGA store,’’ he said.

Woolworths was fined for trying to sell expired milk at its Caltex service stations in Blacktown and Kellyville Ridge, while its Bowral supermarket in Bowral was found to be selling food that was well past its use-by-date.

Coles.perth.raw.goats milkInspectors fined Woolworths’ Camden store for failing to maintain a “required standard of cleanliness.’’

Coles stores in Winmalee and Katoomba — in the Blue Mountains — copped penalties for failing to display “potentially hazardous food’’ under the correct temperature, control while the chain’s Gladesville store was listed for failing to take all necessary steps to prevent the likelihood of food being contaminated.

Despite the breaches, a Coles spokesman said staff: “work actively with regulators to ensure correct food handling and hygiene procedures are held to strict standards.”

Especially that raw goat’s milk.

6 sick with campy: California warns of raw milk

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today warned consumers that the consumption of unpasteurized (raw) dairy products may cause serious illness. Six Northern California residents have recently been diagnosed with campylobacteriosis, a bacterial infection that can come from consuming contaminated raw milk.

raw.milk.claravaleA recent investigation conducted by CDPH identified multiple bottles of Claravale Farm raw milk that tested positive for Campylobacter. Under the direction of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), Claravale Farm has initiated a recall of the affected product.

Although the sale of raw milk from some dairies is legal in California, CDPH does not recommend drinking raw milk or raw milk products or giving raw milk, colostrum, raw cream or other raw milk products to children. Raw milk products sold in California are required to carry a warning label:

“WARNING: Raw (unpasteurized) milk and raw milk dairy products may contain disease-causing microorganisms. Persons at highest risk of disease from these organisms include newborns and infants; the elderly; pregnant women; those taking corticosteroids, antibiotics or antacids; and those having chronic illnesses or other conditions that weaken their immunity.”

Boo-hoo: Australian raw milk pushers losing thousands under new laws

 New Victorian laws governing the sale of unpasteurised milk are costing organic dairy farmers thousands of dollars.

raw.milk.death.1917The death of a three-year-old boy last year, as well as three additional cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome in children under 5-years-old prompted the State Government to bring in new laws this year.

Dairy farmers must add a gagging agent to their milk, to make it unpalatable, if they want to sell it as raw or bath milk for cosmetic purposes.

Simon Schulz, a third generation dairy farmer from the state’s south-west, said he was unable to add a gagging agent and still keep his organic certification.

He said his family now pasteurised all its milk.

Adam Jenkins, the recently installed president of the United Dairy Farmers of Victoria, the state’s peak dairy lobby group, said, “People have made comments about how old farmers drink their own milk out of the vat or we give it to our neighbours. At the end of the day, that’s not really the discussion.”

Mr Jenkins said he understood the need for farmers to supply niche markets to maintain their incomes.

He said the biggest issue facing the raw milk industry was ensuring a safe supply chain from the farm to customers’ houses.

“You can’t just say ‘yes, we’re going to have it’ and have no quality assurance process,” Mr Jenkins said.

“I agree the [government] has done the right thing – maybe gone too hard, too quick – but maybe we need to relook at it. If people are really that keen on that, then they can pursue their own advocacy towards that.”

There’s sick people: Campy in raw milk sparks recall Claravale Farm products in Calif

The press release writers used the same ending three years ago when Claravale raw milk stuff was quarantined, and eventually linked 22 sick people to the products. Epidemiology still works.

colbert_raw_milk(5)Raw milk, raw nonfat milk and raw cream produced by Claravale Farm of San Benito County are the subject of a statewide recall and quarantine order announced by California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones.  

The quarantine order came following the confirmed detection of Campylobacter bacteria in Claravale Farm’s raw milk and raw cream from samples collected and tested by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).  

CDPH found the campylobacter bacteria in samples collected as part of an investigation of illnesses that may have been associated with Claravale Farm raw milk.  No illnesses have been definitively attributed to the products at this time.  However, CDPH is continuing its epidemiological investigation of reported clusters of campylobacter illness where consumption of raw milk products may have occurred.

How many sick people this time?

Scotch and a smoke with your kid? Raw milk fans cheer state laws

Bioethicist Arthur Caplan, head of the Division of Medical Ethics, at New York University, tells Today Health, “Adults drive, cliff dive and smoke, but they have to be informed about risks. The ethical considerations become much more difficult when kids are involved.”

colbert.raw.milkThat’s because kids disproportionately get sick from raw milk.

This past week, West Virginia — which, like many states, bans the direct-to-consumer sales of raw milk —joined other states in a growing movement called herd sharing, which allows citizens of the state to sign a contract with a farmer, buy shares of a cow, and then to pay the farmer to care for the animals and milk them. These shareholders then get the milk in all its raw glory.

“A lot of states are looking at raw milk sales in one way or another, including herdshares, which are sometimes called cowshares,” says Pete Kennedy, president of the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, a group which opposes the ban against interstate sale of raw milk. “But it’s tough trying to get legal or expanded access to (raw) milk for people who want it, and state by state, it can get a little crazy.”

That’s because back in the late 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration prohibited the distribution of raw milk across state lines for direct sale to consumers. But the U.S. can’t halt products being made within a state to be sold inside that state. That’s led to a patchwork of state laws governing the sale of raw milk.

SnakeOilIn California, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, among other states, you can buy raw milk straight from a retail shelf or farmer’s market, according to the advocacy group. But in New York and Massachusetts, for example, you have to go to a licensed farm to buy raw milk. In Illinois and Kansas you can buy from an unlicensed farm, but if you live in Florida, you can’t buy it at all, unless it’s for your pet.

Currently, the FDA, the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, American Veterinary Association, International Association for Food Protection, and the National Environmental Health Association advise against drinking raw milk, as does the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“People want to be more responsible for their sustainable environment and what they are putting into their bodies but they conflate the two issues because natural doesn’t always equal healthy,” says Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine and lead author of the American Academy of Pediatric position statement on raw milk.

The dairy industry worries that illnesses from raw milk sales could damage public confidence in the safety of dairy products.

“I grew up on a dairy farm and anytime you start milking a cow I will tell you they start defecating, and it can get everywhere,” says Dr. Faith Critzer, a food microbiologist with the University of Tennessee and a food safety extension specialist for the state of Tennessee. “There are just too many points of contamination and pasteurization will get rid of contamination. It will save your life.”

“These are educated people and getting some to change their minds about raw milk is difficult,” she says. “But when things go wrong (with raw milk), they can go terribly wrong.”

Always the kids: Health concerns after raw milk bill moves forward in W. Virginia

Lydia Nuzum of the Sunday Gazette – Mail writes that for Amy Nordyke, it seemed like the right choice. After researching ways to improve her family’s diet, she stumbled across the idea of consuming raw milk.

colbert.raw.milk“It was very convincing — that raw milk, under certain circumstances, could be a perfectly safe food to consume for all ages,” Nordyke said. “We just jumped right in and started consuming it.”

Nordyke, her husband and her children, who live near Fort Knox, Kentucky, had been consuming raw milk for nearly a decade when, in September 2014, Nordyke’s then 18-month-old son, Seamus, fell ill — first with bloody diarrhea, which quickly morphed into severe dehydration. Nordyke took him to a pediatrician and continued to monitor her son. When she realized Seamus was no longer urinating, she rushed him to her local hospital.

Seamus had developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition caused by the premature destruction of red blood cells that clog the kidneys and cause them to stop functioning properly. The condition turned out be a complication from contracting E. coli, a bacteria commonly found in contaminated food. In Seamus’ case it came from consuming raw milk.

Seamus wasn’t the only one affected, Nordyke said, three other children had been admitted to the hospital for HUS, and Nordyke recognized the parents of one from Facebook. They were also members of the food club Nordyke procured her raw milk from.

“It was hard for me to accept at first that something that I had actively sought out for so many years could have made my child sick, but after a certain point, I just couldn’t deny it anymore,” she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 202 of the 239 hospitalizations involving tainted dairy products between 1993 and 2006 were linked to the consumption of raw milk or raw-milk cheese. More than 1,500 people were sickened by raw milk products in that time frame, according to the CDC. The CDC has also reported that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy products.

raw.milk.aust.cosmetic.dec.14There have been intermittent cases of raw milk contaminations over the years, but large-scale issues are rare, primarily because consuming raw milk is rare in the U.S., according to Dr. Art Rubin, interim health officer for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.

“That’s been the problem in the Legislature,” Rubin said. “I think part of the reason these infections don’t look statistically significant is because there isn’t as much raw milk consumption, and I think if there were more, you’d start to see more side effects.”

Nordyke’s access to raw milk was the result of a loophole in Kentucky law. While the sale of raw milk in the state is illegal, there are no laws expressly prohibiting herd-sharing, she said.

“Herd-shares in Kentucky aren’t exactly legal, but they’re not illegal, either — it’s a loophole in the law,” she said. “Raw milk sales here are illegal, but you can milk your own cow, so if you own part of a cow, it becomes OK.”

Last week, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted 81-19 to allow the consumption of non-pasteurized milk in West Virginia. The Senate passed the legislation (SB30) last month, so the bill next goes to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for his signature. The bill will not allow the sale of raw milk, but will permit herd-sharing — buying stock in a cow or a herd and drinking milk produced by that cow or herd.

House Republicans noted in discussion of the bill that it was a matter of personal freedom

Despite having “one of the most severe” cases of HUS the hospital had seen, Seamus was able to make a full recovery after two weeks in the hospital, though he still receives check-ups to ensure that his kidneys are functioning as they should.