Cow-share program a ‘sham’ Australian dairy farmers plead guilty to selling raw milk

A South Australian dairy farming couple charged over a cow-sharing scheme have pleaded guilty to selling milk that did not comply with national standards.

Mark and Helen TylerMark and Helen Tyler from Willunga Hill, south of Adelaide, supplied unpasteurised milk weekly to shareholders.

It is illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption in South Australia, but not to drink it from your own cow.

In May last year, a magistrate found the Tylers’ “cow-share program” was a sham and convicted them of two counts of breaching the Food Act.

The couple appealed to the Supreme Court and won a retrial, which was due to start today, but instead Mr and Mrs Tyler pleaded guilty.

SA Health director of public health services Dr Kevin Buckett said the department had always held the view that the Tylers’ cow-share scheme constituted the sale of milk.

“We are pleased with this outcome and we will continue to protect the public from the risks associated with drinking raw cow’s milk,” Dr Buckett said.

Sentencing submissions are being held tomorrow.

Raw is risky: Campylobacter infections associated with raw milk consumption sicken 99 in Utah, 2014

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that a total of 99 cases (59 confirmed and 40 probable) of campylobacteriosis, including 10 patients who were hospitalized, and one who died, occurred in an outbreak in northern Utah associated with a single raw milk dairy.

raw.milk.death.1917The outbreak was documented by epidemiologic, environmental, and laboratory evidence. Despite routine testing of raw milk showing results within acceptable limits, the milk still contained dangerous bacteria.

To limit outbreaks from raw milk consumption, more reliable routine tests are needed that do not rely solely on bacterial, coliform, and somatic cell counts. Case investigation and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns from environmental samples can support an epidemiologic link and allow implementation of control measures.

In May 2014, the Utah Public Health Laboratory (UPHL) notified the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) of specimens from three patients infected with Campylobacter jejuni yielding indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns. All three patients had consumed raw (unpasteurized and nonhomogenized) milk from dairy A. In Utah, raw milk sales are legal from farm to consumer with a sales permit from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF). Raw milk dairies are required to submit monthly milk samples to UDAF for somatic cell and coliform counts, both of which are indicators of raw milk contamination. Before this cluster’s identification, dairy A’s routine test results were within acceptable levels (<400,000 somatic cells/mL and <10 coliform colony forming units/mL). Subsequent enhanced testing procedures recovered C. jejuni, a fastidious organism, in dairy A raw milk; the isolate matched the cluster pattern. UDAF suspended dairy A’s raw milk permit during August 4–October 1, and reinstated the permit when follow-up cultures were negative. Additional cases of C. jejuni infection were identified in October, and UDAF permanently revoked dairy A’s permit to sell raw milk on December 1. During May 9–November 6, 2014, a total of 99 cases of C. jejuni infection were identified. Routine somatic cell and coliform counts of raw milk do not ensure its safety. Consumers should be educated that raw milk might be unsafe even if it meets routine testing standards.

Aus/NZ health types stand strong for safe milk

A campaign to legalize raw cow’s milk has found Far North Queensland support but health authorities have warned it is unfit for human consumption.

colbert.raw.milkTablelands dairy farmers have been drinking milk straight from the vat all their lives and believe the unpasteurised product could be safely sold to the public if regulated properly.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young has warned raw milk isn’t fit for human consumption.

“People who consume ­unpasteurized milk are at ­increased risk of infection due to dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria, which are capable of causing severe illness and potentially death,” she said.

“All unpasteurised milk products in Australia are ­required to be labelled with a statement to the effect that the product has not been pasteurized and is not for human ­consumption.”

Raw milk is sold as bath milk at health stores such as The Healthy Hub in Cairns, where a two-litre bottle fetches $11.50.

Meanwhile, New Zealand food safety minister Jo Goodhew is making no apologies for tough new regulations for raw milk producers.

Mrs. Goodhew said new rules simply brought the milk into line with other products being sold to the public for consumption, and aimed to keep people safe.

“It does only put these producers on a par with other food producers who sell high-risk products such as, for instance, shellfish.”

‘There’s a lot of ignorance’ S. Australian dairy farmers lead renewed push to legalize raw milk

Raw milk producers are making a renewed push to legislate the sale of unpasteurised milk.

colbert.raw.milk“There’s a lot of ignorance. People don’t understand the facts about raw milk and how it can be done well,” raw milk dairy farmer Mark Tyler said.

Selling raw milk is currently illegal in Australia, but farmers can drink their own milk.

The Tyler family, who farm at Willunga Hill, about an hour out of Adelaide, now supply the niche product to about 700 investors in South Australia.

Raw milk is a premium product and sells for at least three times the farm-gate milk price.

“We’re just providing an alternative rather than dairy farmers being locked in as slaves for the big corporations,” Mr Tyler said.

Working within the legislation has not been easy, with authorities charging Mr Tyler for selling raw milk illegally.

After an appeal to the Supreme Court a mistrial was declared, and a new trial will begin later this year.

“In 15 years of testing, we’ve never had a pathogen in our milk,” Mr Tyler said.

But authorities say raw milk poses a health risk, especially to children.

A Victorian child died in 2014 after drinking raw milk marketed as bath milk, and in that state a bittering agent is now added to discourage consumption.

The regulator, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), said raw milk was more likely to contain deadly bacteria like E. coli, salmonella and listeria.

 

Do as I say, not as I do: West Virginia won’t penalize lawmaker who gave out raw milk

West Virginia health officials won’t penalize a state lawmaker who illegally handed out raw milk at the Capitol.

colbert.raw.milkA letter from the Bureau for Public Health last week says Del. Scott Cadle clearly violated state law by offering raw milk to the public on March 3. The letter to Cadle stated that he wouldn’t be fined because it was a first offense, but asked him not to sell or distribute raw milk again.

According to the letter, Cadle offered raw milk to anyone who wished to try it at the end of a March 3 floor session.

The letter says one other House delegate and several others became sick around the time they drank the raw milk. There also had been a stomach illness circulating at the Capitol. An investigation into whether people got sick because of raw milk continues.

A bill allowing for herd sharing agreements and the consumption of raw milk was passed during the session, and signed into law by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

From the we’ve-never-made-anyone-sick-before files: Conn. E. coli on goat farm edition

The goat farm in Lebanon that may be linked to an E. coli outbreak has been given two stipulations by the health department, the owner told NBC Connecticut.

oak-leaf-dairy-goat-farm-march-6th-1024x684Oak Leaf Dairy Farm is no longer allowed to have the public visit its goats and may not distribute unpasteurized products, Mark Reynolds, the farm’s owner, said.

Reynolds said the outbreak has already started affecting his wholesale business. He said he had never had E. coli linked to his farm before.

The Department of Health and other agencies began to investigate Oak Leaf Dairy Farm after seven people contracted E. coli.

Six of those people were children who visited the farm and petted the goats.

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center said two patients have been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

The power of whole genome sequencing: 1 dead 1 sick from Listeria-in-raw milk, 2014

The U.S. Centers for disease Control reports that raw milk produced by Miller’s Organic Farm in Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania, is the likely source of this outbreak.

colbert.raw.milkTwo people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria were reported from California (1) and Florida (1). Both illnesses occurred in 2014.

Both people were hospitalized, and the ill person in Florida died as a result of listeriosis.

Although the two illnesses occurred in 2014, the source of these illnesses wasn’t known until January 29, 2016, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration informed CDC that whole genome sequencing of Listeria bacteria from raw chocolate milk produced by Miller’s Organic Farm showed that it was closely related genetically to Listeria bacteria from the two ill people described above.

Because Listeria was recently found in raw milk produced by Miller’s Organic Farm, CDC is concerned that conditions may exist at the farm that may cause further contamination of raw milk and raw dairy products distributed by this company and make people sick.

In November 2015, samples of raw chocolate milk were collected from a raw milk conference held in Anaheim, California. The raw chocolate milk was produced by Miller’s Organic Farm. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isolated Listeria from the raw chocolate milk and conducted WGS testing on the isolate to get more genetic information about the bacteria. On January 29, 2016, FDA informed CDC that WGS determined that the Listeria bacteria from the raw chocolate milk was closely related genetically to Listeria bacteria from two people in two states who got sick in 2014, one from California and one from Florida.

Salmonella cases spike: California health types warn against illegally made Mexican-style cheese 

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today warned the public about the danger of consuming illegally manufactured Mexican-style soft cheeses, often sold by street vendors. 

quesofresco-complete“These cheeses are often made with raw, unpasteurized milk and under unsanitary conditions,” said Dr. Smith. “We are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of reported Salmonella cases, particularly in the Hispanic community.” 

Since November 2015, at least 50 patients have been infected with three different strains of Salmonella. No deaths have been reported, but hospitalization has been required in several cases. The investigation into these cases is ongoing, but several patients have reported consuming potentially unpasteurized Mexican-style cheese purchased from street vendors before they became ill. 

E. coli alert for sheep milk cheese from Romania

The European Commission has issued an alert over possible Escherichia coli (E. coli) in sheep milk cheese made in Romania.

lactate.bradet.argesAccording to the alert issued in the RASFF – the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, the cheese comes from Romania and has been mainly distributed in Italy, France, and Germany.

The Commission decided to issue such an alert after a notification from Italy. The Italian authorities confirmed on Thursday that cheese infected with E. coli caused intestinal infection in a 14-month old Romanian baby admitted to a hospital in Florence, reports local Mediafax. The cheese is believed to have come from Romanian dairy producer Lactate Bradet SRL, headquartered in Arges county.

Referring to this incident, Romanian Agriculture Minister Achim Irimescu said that the contamination of Romanian cheese with E. coli is an accident, and people should still have confidence in Romanian products, local Agerpres reports.

Lactate Bradet has recently been at the core of a media scandal after Romanian authorities said its dairy products caused the E. coli infection that resulted in the illness and even death of several children from Arges county. However, the Cantacuzino research institute in Bucharest later showed that the Bradet cheese was not the source of infection.

The situation escalated on Friday, March 18, when the management of the Sanitary-Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA) announced that over 20 tons of Bradet dairy products have been withdrawn from the Romanian market. A similar decision was also taken in Spain (over 1 ton) and Italy (546 kg), reports local Mediafax.

Authorities have withdrawn from the market all the products Bradet made in February, according to the food safety authority, which also recommended people not to consume these products.

El Paso man ill eating raw milk goat cheese from unlicensed food vendor

City health officials are warning the public to avoid eating unpasteurized cheese after an El Paso man was hospitalized with brucellosis.

raw.milk.goat.cheeseHealth officials said the man, who is in his 60s, ate goat cheese that was purchased from an unlicensed food vendor, and became ill with a fever, joint pain and fatigue.

“We want our residents to keep in mind that purchasing food from an illegal vendor can be very dangerous. One should assume all cheese sold on the street is unpasteurized,” said Robert Resendes, public health director.