But it’s trendy: 5 kids sick in UK linked to raw milk

The food watchdog has issued a warning about the dangers of giving unpasteurised milk to children after five youngsters were taken to hospital with E.coli poisoning.

colbert.raw.milkThe unpasteurised milk has become trendy among celebrity food writers and other advocates of unprocessed ‘raw food,’ who claim it is both tastier and healthier.

However, consumers are putting themselves at risk because the milk is not heat treated to remove dangerous bugs.

The UK Food Standards Agency said there have been incidents on three farms selling raw milk in recent weeks which led to E. coli poisoning in five children aged one to 12 and one adult aged 28.

The watchdog has now suspended sales of raw cows’ drinking milk and any product made from the milk, including cheese, at all three farms.

In a resounding show of statistical idiocy, Shane Holland, of campaigning group Slow Food UK, said: ‘Data from the US show that raw milk is many thousands of times less likely to give you food poisoning than other commonly eaten foods not deemed “risky” by the FSA.’


Another supporter of raw milk is food writer Tom Parker Bowles who has described it as ‘rich, bounteous and fulsome.’


It was the Campy in raw milk provided by parents that sickened 38 related to a Wisconsin high school football team

When Bri­anna Win­nekins, 18, was ad­mit­ted to Chippewa Val­ley Hospi­tal in Du­rand Sept. 22, her par­ents, Karla and Brian, had no idea what was caus­ing her symp­toms, which in­cluded a 105-de­gree fever.

colbert.raw.milkIt didn’t take long be­fore more Du­rand High School stu­dents — all as­so­ci­ated with the foot­ball team — be­gan be­ing ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal and a link was made be­tween the ill­ness and a team din­ner at a Du­rand church Sept. 18.

On Oct. 24, State Depart­ment of Health Ser­vices of­fi­cials an­nounced raw milk served at a potluck team meal likely caused the out­break of ill­ness among Du­rand High School foot­ball play­ers, man­agers and coaches in Septem­ber.

The out­break af­fected 38 mem­bers of the foot­ball team who at­tended the team din­ner on Sept. 18. Test­ing per­formed at the State Lab of Hy­giene and area labs and clin­ics con­firmed that the ill­ness was caused by Campy­lobac­ter je­juni bac­te­ria.

As part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, state DHS of­fi­cials in­ter­viewed all of the foot­ball team mem­bers and coach­ing staff to as­sess ill­nesses and ask ques­tions about ac­tiv­i­ties, foods, wa­ter sources and pos­si­ble causes of the ill­ness. They dis­cov­ered the con­sump­tion of raw milk was the only com­mon­al­ity among them that could cause the ill­ness.

The team meal and drinks were pro­vided by a group of team par­ents, said Karla Win­nekins. Win­nekins said her daugh­ter was not aware that the milk she was drink­ing was raw milk.

“Our daugh­ter said, had she known it was raw milk, she would not have drank it,” Win­nekins said.

Karla Win­nekins is more pointed in her opin­ion of whether raw milk should have been avail­able at the team func­tion.

While this is the first time stu­dents and coaches as­so­ci­ated with the Du­rand foot­ball team have got­ten sick from drink­ing raw milk, Win­nekins said this is likely not the first time raw milk has been served at a team din­ner.

“It’s scary,” Win­nekins said. “I’ve read the good about raw milk, and I’ve read the bad. But just be­cause some­thing has been done in the past and it has turned out OK doesn’t make it right.”

This is the song that never ends: Regulations for sale of raw milk being considered in Ireland (paid for by taxpayers)

Regulatory standards for the sale of raw milk are being examined by the Irish Department of Agriculture, following years of uncertainty over the sale of the milk, which is not pasteurized.

SB_SongThatNeverEnds-eBookNative.480x480-75The department banned the sale of raw cow’s milk in 1996 over concerns about the health risks but EU hygiene legislation in 2006 legally permitted it.

Once the implications of EU legislation were realised, some farmers began to sell raw milk again but in 2011 the government said it would ban the sale of the milk on the advice of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

However, last year, the Department of Health received legal advice stating it could not introduce secondary legislation under the Health Acts and it told the Department of Agriculture it was a matter for it to decide whether to introduce the primary legislation required.

Asked if it was planning to bring this legislation forward, a spokesman for the Department of Agriculture said the department was “currently assessing the options available to it to counter the risks associated with the sale of unpasteurised milk for direct human consumption”.

He said a particular option being considered was the introduction of specified regulatory standards to apply to the sale of raw milk. He did not give a time frame for the introduction of such standards. The spokesman said unpasteurised milk could contain disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli O157, salmonellosis and brucellosis.

Unpasteurized raw milk being blamed for illness that sickened dozens of Wisconsin students

A friend posted on facebook how much she enjoyed the visit to the apple cider mill – a fall tradition.

colbert.raw.milkI asked if the cider was pasteurized.

She said yes.


Not so good for the Durand High School in Wisconsin where a parent provided  unpasteurized raw milk for a team football dinner

Eight students were hospitalized, and nearly 150 middle and high school students stayed home to avoid getting sick. 

State health officials say it was Campylobacter that caused the illness, and the health department said Friday that it likely came from unpasteurized raw milk.

2 sick with E.coli O157 in UK linked to raw milk

The UK Food Standards Agency reports Barton Farm Dairy (Kentisbury, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 4NQ) is recalling its raw cow’s drinking milk due to a potential link to two cases of E.coli O157 infection. If you have bought this product, do not consume it. The FSA has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.

baton.farm.dairyProduct details

The product being recalled is:

Barton Farm Dairy raw cow’s drinking milk

Size: All sizes

Barton Farm Dairy is recalling the above product. Product recall notices will be issued to the business’s customers and on the website, explaining why the recall is happening and what they can do if they have bought an affected product.

If you have bought any of the above products, do not consume them. Instead, contact the Barton Farm Dairy by calling 01271 882283 or emailing info@bartonfarmdairy.co.uk for further advice.

5 sickened: kids’ E. coli came from raw milk, Kentucky says

Five children sickened by E. coli infections last month drank unpasteurized milk, an investigation has found.

colbert.raw.milkThe state Department for Public Health worked with local health departments, hospitals and health care providers to find the cause of the outbreak, which affected children in Hardin, Oldham and Boone counties.

Four of the five children developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, commissioner of the state health department. “Unpasteurized milk is dangerous and has not undergone a process to kill bacteria before it is consumed …  raw milk, no matter how carefully it is produced, may contain pathogens.”

45 sick from Campylobacter linked to raw milk in Utah

Utah public health officials are investigating a few cases of sickness associated with raw or unpasteurized milk.

A few? Is there that many people in Utah?

colbert.raw.milkSo far, 45 cases of Campylobacter infection have been confirmed in people who had raw milk in the week they got sick.

Officials said the illness has been reported in Cache, Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber counties.

Two cases have also been confirmed in California and Idaho.

The first case of the infection was reported May 9.

The Utah Dept. of Health said all 45 cases are linked to raw milk or cream purchased at Ropelato Dairy in Weber County.

The Utah Dept. of Agriculture suspended the dairy’s license to sell raw milk on Aug. 4 after several tests were positive for Campylobacter.

Larry Lewis with the UDAF said the dairy has been very cooperative in working with the inspectors and it will be allowed to sell raw milk again as soon as it consistently passes safety tests.

State-sponsored jazz fail: unlocking France’s secrets to safer raw milk cheese?

Leave it to U.S. National Public Radio to glorify raw milk cheese from France, based on some secret manuscript that requires $20,000 to translate (Amy could probably do it for nothing, but I wouldn’t want to speak on her behalf).

UnknownWhat NPR left out was that some former raw milk cheese producers have switched to using pasteurized milk.

In 2007, while Amy and I were touring around France, she wrote, two of France’s (and thus the world’s) top lait cru Camembert producers, Lactalis and Isigny-Sainte-Mère, announced that they are forgoing the status of “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” and switching to cheese made exclusively with heat-treated micro-filtered milk (not quite pasteurized but still an affront to purists).

Lactilis’ spokesperson, Luc Morelon said that although they recognize the importance of Camembert traditions, they’re making the change “[b]ecause consumer safety is paramount, and we cannot guarantee it 100 per cent. We cannot accept the risk of seeing our historic brands disappearing because of an accident in production.” In response to his critics Morelon added, “I don’t want to risk sending any more children to hospital. It’s as simple as that.”

Nice research, NPR.

Raw milk in UK? FSA Board wants more evidence

The UK Food Standards Agency board has asked for the FSA to maintain the current regulations controlling the sale of raw milk, while further evidence is gathered to allow board members to make a final decision on whether to revise the rules.

colbert.raw.milkFollowing a review of the current raw milk regulations, the FSA had proposed exploring the scope for wider access to raw milk, including limited sales from vending machines in shops.

The proposals were discussed today by the Board. They concluded that additional evidence was required on risks from specific pathogens. More detail was also requested on the proposed testing regime that would be necessary to allow extended sales while maintaining consumer protection. The Board said a final decision should not be made until the European Food Safety Authority has delivered the findings of its own review of the risks from raw milk which is expected in December 2014.

The FSA will now consider the conclusions in more detail and agree a timeframe for delivering the additional work the Board has requested.

Regulators mount up: raw milk producers aim to regulate themselves

I don’t care who does the regulating as long as the data is public, verifiable and producers are liable. There are benefits and faults with the many systems out there that could be largely remedied with public access to data and marketing of microbial food safety at retail.

colbert.raw.milkAnd I’m sure the raw milk producers promoting self-regulation would have no problem with genetically engineered foods, meat and restaurants being self-regulated.

At least I’m consistent.

Deena Prichep of NPR’s The Salt reports that Mark McAfee, the CEO of Organic Pastures, California’s largest raw milk dairy has founded the Raw Milk Institute.

“People are searching for local raw milk,” McAfee explains. “But when they go to the farm, or they go to the store, they really don’t know what they’re getting.”

To create both accountability and transparency, McAfee worked with epidemiologists, biologists and other health professionals to create RAWMI’s standards. Instead of just focusing on the end results, like bacteria levels, they also worked up detailed protocols for the entire process — from taking the temperature of the dishwasher used to clean the milk bottles to the distance between the water well and manure pile.

The group is also looking at the risk specific to each farm, whether it’s a muddy slope with three cows in Oregon or a sunny California farm with a midsize herd.

When a farm completes its hazards analysis, planning and testing — and passes a site visit from RAWMI — it is listed on the institute’s website. Right now there are half a dozen farms listed, with 10 more in the midst of the process.

The first farm to be listed was Champoeg Creamery, a small dairy about 30 miles south of Portland, Ore. Owner Charlotte Smith is a fifth-generation farmer. But when she first started producing raw milk a few years ago, she discovered it was an entirely different animal.

“I could call the extension office, and get some help on what was going on with my vegetables, or what is this beetle eating my tomatoes,” says Smith. “But there’s no one that will help you with raw milk production.”

And with about 100 families buying her milk — and monitoring an E. coli outbreak at a neighboring farm that landed kids in the hospital — Smith was committed to getting it right. Because while Smith says raw milk may offer health benefits, she also acknowledges the very real dangers.

“You can bring home a chicken and sell the eggs, and feel pretty safe about it. But raw milk, coming out of a cow, and manure flying during milking time — it is a huge challenge, far different than any other farm animal we have.”

As someone looking for guidance, Smith was a bit surprised that national regulatory agencies wouldn’t lend their expertise to establishing safety criteria. To them, she says:

“Raw milk is here to stay, whether you want to admit it or not. So why not work together, come up with some very basic things, where if you’re going to produce and sell raw milk, you’re going to agree that you have met these standards. In my mind, it seems so easy.”

Robert Tauxe at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that while the safety plans and regular testing advocated by RAWMI can certainly reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, they can’t offer any certainty that the particular gallon you grab from the shelf is truly safe.

“A cow can test negative today, and then get infected tomorrow,” notes Tauxe.

Tauxe is not unsympathetic to the reasons people seek out raw milk. “I understand the interest in having colonies of living bacteria in the food we eat,” he says. “The problem is when those living bacteria that are beneficial get mixed up with the living bacteria that cause disease.”