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.”

2 sick with E. coli from raw milk in Michigan

Two people in West Michigan, including a 6-year-old child, contracted a strain of E. coli after drinking raw milk from a cow share program.

colbert.raw.milkAccording to a press release from the Kent County Health Department, a 31-year-old Muskegon County women and a 6-year-old from Kent County became sick after drinking raw milk from an Ottawa County cow share program.

Both of these cases were reported in March and April of this year.

Food safety fairytales: children who die from raw milk go straight to heaven in Louisiana

Arguments of choice versus public safety are heated in a fight about whether to let Louisiana farmers sell raw milk to the public.

The full state House will consider a bill that would allow sales of unpasteurized milk, after it was advanced in a 9-6 vote April 23 by the House Agriculture Committee.

colbert.raw.milkdApproval came despite opposition from Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain, who said farmers couldn’t guarantee that unpasteurized milk would be safe because it doesn’t go through the heating process designed to kill harmful bacteria. Louisiana’s state health officer, Jimmy Guidry, told lawmakers he wouldn’t allow his family to drink raw milk.

Supporters of raw milk say pasteurization takes away some of milk’s nutritional benefits.

Ciera Majors spoke to the House Agriculture  Committee in favor of the measure that would allow farmers to sell raw milk to consumers.

“The only argument that the opposition has for this bill is ‘death of a child, death of a child,’” said Majors. “Trust me! I want to protect my children. I wanted to give them a healthy product so much so that I bought two cows.”

One raw milk supporter, Audry Salvador, told Marksville Representative Robert Johnson it would be the responsibility of the consumer to make sure they are purchasing from a reputable farmer.

“I can watch everything they do if I want,” said Salvador.

Johnson said, “What about those who don’t?”

“That is their fault.”

“What about the child that dies that has no one to protect him,” Johnson asked.

Well, before the age of reason they can go to Heaven,” said Salvador.
“That’s your answer?! Mr. Chairman I move that we voluntarily defer this bill,” Johnson said in extreme anger.

Johnson also tells Salvador he has a major problem with farmers being exempt from liability if someone gets sick from raw milk.
The vote was 9-6 and now heads to the House floor.

27 sick with Yersinia and Campylobacter from raw milk in Finland

The first results from milk samples at a farm in Askola, Finland taken April 7 revealed Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and Campylobacter jejuni.

The number of people who drank milk from Uljaan tilamaito and experienced symptoms has still increased in Porvoo and in the neighboring municipalities (Askola, Lovisa, Borgnäs colbert.raw.milkand Sipoo). There are now 19 confirmed cases of Yersinia. Campylobakterier have so far been isolated from a total of eight people. Investigations are still ongoing for about twenty people.

Uljaan tilamaito pulled away all unpasteurized milk from the shops in early April.

WTF? New Zealand dairy cleared to sell raw milk after Campylobacter outbreak, two kids get E. coli from different NZ raw milk

As Village Milk Timaru in New Zealand begins selling raw milk after being linked to seven Campylobacter illnesses, at least two Timaru pupils have contracted E. coli following school trips, with raw milk being a possible cause.

colbert.raw.milkWho serves raw milk to schoolkids? They don’t have the choice adults do.

South Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Daniel Williams said, “All the children that have been sick have drunk raw milk, but it has not been confirmed what caused the illnesses yet.”

The pupils did not visit the Timaru farm of Stuart and Andrea Weir, which has been at the center of an ongoing Campylobacter investigation.

“We have had a clean run of at least five consecutive days. That gives us enough confidence to resume our operations in Timaru,” chief executive Mark Houston said.

“We don’t want to speculate or point fingers. We understand South Canterbury is a bit of a haven for Campylobacter.”