Always the kids: raw goats milk in Idaho sickens at least 2

On August 27, 2014, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Division of Public Health (DPH) was notified of two cases of cryptosporidiosis in siblings aged <3 years. Idaho’s Southwest District Health (SWDH) investigated and found that both children had consumed raw (unpasteurized) goat milk produced at a dairy licensed by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and purchased at a retail store. Milk produced before August 18, the date of illness onset, was unavailable for testing from retail stores, the household, or the dairy.

goat.poopSamples of raw goat milk produced on August 18, 21, 25, and 28, taken from one opened container from the siblings’ household, one unopened container from the retailer, and two unopened containers from the dairy, all tested positive for Cryptosporidium by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) at a commercial laboratory. On August 30, ISDA placed a hold order on all raw milk sales from the producer. ISDA and SWDH issued press releases advising persons not to consume the raw milk; SWDH issued a medical alert, and Idaho’s Central District Health Department issued an advisory to health care providers about the outbreak.

All seven of Idaho’s Public Health Districts and DPH continued to monitor cryptosporidiosis reports submitted from Idaho health care providers and laboratories statewide as required by Idaho law. Public Health Districts investigated reports by interviewing ill persons or their parents using a standardized questionnaire. After the hold order, SWDH and the Central District Health Department identified nine ill persons in four households. Four persons who had regularly consumed raw goat milk produced before August 18 experienced symptoms of gastroenteritis, and five household members who had not consumed the milk experienced onsets of symptoms of gastroenteritis 3–8 days after the first household member became ill. No other common exposures were identified. CDC case definitions for cryptosporidiosis were used (1). In total, the 11 ill persons were aged 2 months–76 years (median = 11 years); six were female. One patient was hospitalized. Stool specimens were obtained in three primary cases (i.e., illnesses in those who drank the raw goat milk) and three secondary cases (i.e., illness in contacts of those who drank the raw goat milk); CDC isolated Cryptosporidium parvum subtype IIaA16G3R1 from all six. The last reported outbreak-associated illness was a secondary case with an onset date of September 3.

In addition to the four tested milk samples from containers, five of five milk samples collected along the production line on September 2 tested positive for Cryptosporidium by PCR at the commercial laboratory. Testing of all nine milk samples (four from containers and five from the production line) at CDC for Cryptosporidium by PCR and direct fluorescent antibody test was negative. CDC and the commercial laboratory collaborated to validate the negative result by using sequencing to determine that false-positive results at the commercial laboratory were likely caused by goat DNA amplification during PCR. An inspection of the dairy did not reveal any obvious contamination sources. Water from the producer’s well tested negative at Idaho Bureau of Laboratories for Cryptosporidium by direct fluorescent antibody test after ultrafiltration. Goat stool was unavailable for testing. Negative results led ISDA to release the hold order on September 18.

goat.petting.zooEpidemiologic evidence implicated contaminated raw goat milk as the outbreak source. It was not possible to obtain confirmatory laboratory evidence of milk contamination. Milk consumed before illness onset was unavailable for testing and could have been subjected to a single, undetected contamination event. No other common source was identified, and isolation of the identical Cryptosporidium genotype from ill persons did not disprove a common source. This outbreak highlights an infrequently reported cryptosporidiosis risk from unpasteurized milk (2,3), the value of sequencing to validate PCR protocols, the utility of genotyping Cryptosporidium isolates for strengthening epidemiologic evidence, and the risk for secondary transmission of Cryptosporidium. An increasing number of enteric outbreaks are associated with raw milk consumption (4,5). Resources for consumers, health care providers, and public health officials regarding risks from raw milk consumption are available at

Cryptosporidiosis associated with consumption of unpasteurized goat milk — Idaho, 2014

CDC MMWR 64(07);194-195

Mariana Rosenthal, Randi Pedersen, Scott Leibsle, Vincent Hill, Kris Carter, Dawn M. Roellig

Internet cheese? Be careful Europeans

The suitability for consumers of a variety of raw milk cheeses purchased over the Internet was investigated in terms of packaging, labelling, physicochemical parameters and microbiological safety. 108 purchases from seven European countries were examined.

artisanal.cheeseThe prevalences of Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli and coagulase positive staphylococci (SA) were determined. All 108 samples were described on websites as raw milk cheeses and thereby qualified for this study. However, after delivery it was noted that 4.6% (5/108) of cheeses were labelled to be manufactured from heat-treated or pasteurized milk. Delivery duration ranged from 24 h to six days. Immediately upon receipt cheese temperatures were observed to range between 5 and 23 °C, whereas in 61.5% of all cases the temperature was higher than 15 °C. Cheese labelling was examined in respect of EC Guideline 2000/13 and Regulation No. 853/2004. Only 17.6% (19/108) of cheeses were properly labelled and fulfilled all European guideline requirements.

In 50.9%, 38.8%, 46.3% and 39.8% of all cases (i) specific storage requirements, (ii) name and address of the manufacturer/packer or seller, (iii) net weight and (iv) shelf life (use by date), were missing. Even the labelling information “made from raw milk” was not apparent on 36% of all cheese items delivered. The major foodborne pathogen L. monocytogenes was detected in 1.9% of all samples, one of which had counts of 9.5 × 103 CFU/g. None of the 108 investigated cheeses showed a pH ≤ 5.0 and aw value ≤0.94 which are the limiting values for growth of L. monocytogenes. For two samples (0.9%) and 11 samples (10.2%) the pH and the aw value was ≤4.4 or ≤0.92, respectively at least at one of three stipulated time points (receipt, mid-shelf-life and at expiry). Salmonella spp. could not be detected in any of the samples. E. coli and SA could be detected in a total of 29.6% (≥10 CFU/g; 32/108) and 8.3% (≥100 CFU/g; 9/108) of samples, respectively, indicating poor conditions of hygiene.

Results reveal that labelling and hygiene concerns about the safety of Internet purchased cheeses in Europe are justified.

How safe is European Internet cheese? A purchase and microbiological investigation

Food Control, Volume 54, August 2015, Pages 225–230

Dagmar Schoder , Anja Strauß, Kati Szakmary-Brändle, Martin Wagner

Raw milk in the same fridge as pasteurized at Banana Joe’s supermarket in Sydney

While the Australian state of Victoria has taking steps to limit the sale of bath milk, linked to a child’s death and three other cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, the stuff was found on sale yesterday alongside regular milk in a Sydney supermarket (that’s in the state of New South Wales).

raw.milk.banana.joes.feb.15Banana Joe’s supermarket in Marrickville was yesterday selling raw milk alongside ­pasteurized products.

The milk, Cleopatra’s Bath Milk, retails for $8.73 for a two liter bottle and is labeled “cosmetic skin treatment only”.

Despite displaying this ­legally required warning, the raw milk is packaged almost identically to regular milk and was displayed in the same fridge as other milk products.

The store manager, who gave his name as AJ, had “no concerns at this time” selling the products in the same fridge as regular milk as they were not on the same shelf.

He said he had ordered the milk in at the request of a ­customer but added that he had only sold “one or two bottles.”

Coles.perth.raw.goats milkA Coles supermarket in Western Australia was found to be selling unpasteurized goat’s milk, according to an intrepid reader, which has, I’ve been told, since been removed.



32 sickened with Campy: Wisconsin raw milk farm penalized in Durand High School case

This is why I pay attention when food is served at the kid’s school.

And I’ve already pissed off a bunch of parents because of my food-safety based draconian and silly requirements for canning and cooking.

doug.braun.sorenne.capitalsThe owners of a Wisconsin dairy farm, who supplied unpasteurized milk to the Durand High School football team this fall causing dozens of students and faculty to become violently ill from Campylobacter bacteria, have agreed to a set of penalties for their role in the outbreak.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture announced on Thursday that Roland and Diana Reed of Arkansaw have agreed to a plan that includes suspending the farm’s Grade A permit for 30 days.
The agency says if the farm violates any of the conditions of the agreement within three years, the Grade A permit will be suspended again for 150 days for the current violation and their Grade A permit will be revoked for no less than six months for the additional violation.

“After reviewing the circumstances described in the final DHS epidemiological and laboratory report, we have determined that the farm violated current statutes and rules by distributing unpasteurized milk in an unauthorized manner, so we are taking appropriate action,” said Dr. Steve Ingham, administrator of the Division of Food Safety for DATCP.

Outbreaks from raw milk on the rise in US

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that outbreaks caused by raw milk increased over a six-year period, according to a newly released CDC study. The study reviewed outbreaks caused by raw milk–milk that has not been pasteurized to kill disease-causing germs–in the United States that were reported to CDC from 2007-2012. The study analyzed the number of outbreaks, the legal status of raw milk sales in each state, and the number of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths associated with these outbreaks.

colbert.raw.milkMore states are legalizing the sale of raw milk even though this leads to an increase in the number outbreaks.

Findings also showed that the number of states that have legalized the sale of raw milk has also increased. In 2004, there were 22 states where the sale of raw milk was legal in some form; however, this number increased to 30 in 2011. Eighty-one percent of outbreaks were reported in states where the sale of raw milk was legal.

Children were at the highest risk for illness from raw milk. About sixty percent of outbreaks involved at least one child younger than five years of age.

 Raw milk is a risk for human health.

You cannot look at, smell, or taste raw milk to determine if it is safe. Cows and other animals can appear healthy and clean, but can still have germs, like Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause illnesses in humans.

Milk cannot be collected without introducing some bacteria– even under ideal conditions of cleanliness. Unless the milk is pasteurized, these bacteria can multiply.

Even raw milk supplied by “certified,” “organic,” or “local” dairies has no guarantee of being safe. Raw milk from grass-fed animals is not considered safe either. 



New Zealand dairy farmers use glass bottles and vending machines to sell raw milk from the farm

While Victorian regulators want to ban the sale of raw milk, in New Zealand it’s sold in on-farm vending machines.

village.milkDairy company Village Milk in Golden Bay, on New Zealand’s South Island, is selling up to 300-litres of raw milk a day from their on-farm vending machines.

Village Milk owner, Mark Houston, said the focus on safety was rigorous.

He said they had not had a health scare in their four years of operating.

“Our whole farm is totally geared for raw milk sales, so under our rules we’re allowed to do that but people have to come to the farm to buy it,” he said.

“The milk is prepared for drinking without processing and it’s incredibly clean and it’s incredibly high quality and it’s extensively tested.”

Dairy farmers in New Zealand are allowed to sell raw milk under a 50 year-old law allowing customers who live in remote areas to buy milk from their local farmer.

Raw milk producers have used the rule to increase farm sales.

Mr Houston said farmers are subject to Ministry for Primary Industries safety regulations.

“The risk management program covers everything,” he said.

“There are inspections of the stock, shed inspections, there’s a testing regime, there’s verification of the record keeping.

“It’s quite intense.”

In New Zealand individuals are allowed to purchase up to five litres of raw milk a day at a cost of $NZ2.50 per litre.

Once the milk enters the vending machine, it has 24 hours to be sold before it is replaced with a new batch the next day.

Dairy Safety Victoria is one organisation that wants to ban the sale of raw milk.

“A wide variety of organisms that can cause illness can be found in raw cow’s milk,” Dairy Safety Victoria said in a statement.

“No matter how carefully it has been produced, raw milk may be unsafe because it can contain these organisms that cause illness.”

Bugs cured by wellness?

Jane Hansen of The Daily Telegraph writeskellogg that the so-called wellness industry has an unhealthy dark side that needs exposing.

Increasingly it is revealed parents are not vaccinating their children, and feeding kids potentially deadly raw milk for the “healthy” bacteria on the advice of their alternative therapist.

While most of the professional bodies for alternative practitioners have now come out with position statements in support of vaccination, in practice many are quietly advising their patients not to vaccinate, fuelling a discredited link to autism, and directing parents to feed their kids raw milk to treat illnesses such as autism.

A good deal of the chiropractic sector does not even believe in germ theory. They believe that as long as you pop along for your “wellness” tinkering every week, you won’t fall prey to infectious diseases.

Some leading chiropractors were members of the anti-vaccination group the AVSN, which once boasted that chiropractors were its greatest financial supporters.

Recent comments by Arizona chiropractor Heather Wolfson about a five-year-old who could not be vaccinated, and who died of chickenpox related complications, shows just how deranged chiropractic thinking can be.

“If this mother would have sought out chiropractic care, gave just two simple vitamins A and C, she would have never developed pneumonia … This little girl is dead, not from chickenpox, but from chemicals and poor nutrition.”

I would like to see those chiropractors who don’t believe in germ theory to head to ebola-stricken Africa to put their craft to the test.

kellogg.bibiologicThe wellness industry lives by the mantra “food is medicine”, a term deeply embedded in the anti-vax movement.

Amid its advice is to drink raw milk. As naturopath Helen Goodwin wrote, this is the only way it should be drunk, “as the beneficial bacteria lactobacillus acidophilus is still alive”.

But Goodwin acknowledges the potential for harmful bacteria is the reason why it is illegal to sell raw milk for consumption in Australia.

It contains listeria and E.coli and other pathogens which recently caused the death of a Victorian toddler.

Victorian raw milk producers lost half their business overnight due to stronger action to ban consumption

Some organic milk producers have stopped production after Victoria took action to stop people drinking raw milk.

colbert.raw.milkThe death of a three-year-old boy in December last year, linked to the consumption of unpasteurised bath milk, as well as three other cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome in children under 5-years-old, prompted changes to dairy licences.

Victoria is the first state to force producers selling milk for cosmetic purposes, labelled as bath milk, to add a bittering agent to give the milk a distasteful flavour.

Manager of the Miranda Dale Dairy in south-east Victoria, Reg Matthews, said he had lost 70 per cent of his business over night because of the new licence arrangement.

“We’ll bring out a low temperature pasteurised product. Whether that can sustain us enough to keep the business going remains to be seen,” he said.

“Really what happens this afternoon, my son is waiting for me, we’ll sit down and start looking at the animals and make some decisions as to what if anything we are going to sell off and get a few dollars in the door.”

Canberra uses cow shares to get their raw milk fix

A Canberra woman admits “it would be fair to say that pasteurised milk would be safer” but she still intends on using raw milk for her family.

sprout.santa.barf.xmasSaffron Zomer developed a taste for raw milk while living overseas.

She is now involved in a cow share scheme which presently enables her to consume the untreated milk.

Ms Zomer is among around 25 Canberra households who are part of the scheme run by Julia McKay a dairy farmer at Bungonia north of the nation’s capital.

Ms McKay delivers around ten litres of milk on a weekly basis to the various shareholders.

Ms Zomer gets the milk “primarily because its delicious” after living in Switzerland where she and her husband had access to raw milk.

“I did some research and I think the nutritional value is higher.” Ms Zomer said.

Ms Zomer has three children, one who is newly born and not feeding on the milk.

“My oldest isn’t much of a milk drinker, but the little one likes it and he is always excited when it is delivery day because the milk is really fresh and he doesn’t like to drink supermarket milk anymore.” she observed.

Family guy barfShe argues that there is a clear difference in the taste of raw milk when compared to supermarket milk.

Her husband uses some of the milk to make cheese.

Ms Zomer compares drinking of raw milk to eating other unprocessed food.

“I also let my kids eat seafood, sprouts and raw spinach and chicken.

I wouldn’t let my kids eat raw sprouts. Or raw milk.

Raw milk could face national ban in Australia after recommendation from forum; raw milk cheese OKed

A national ban on the sale of raw milk is looming after state and territory leaders agreed consumers need protection from the dangers posed by unpasteurized milk.

905759-97a4dae2-a8f4-11e4-98ea-b0cbd556a12bThe Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation, attended by ministers responsible for food regulation, raised their ‘extreme concern’ about the consumption of unpasteurized cow’s milk that is sold as ‘bath milk’ with a disclaimer ‘not for human consumption’.

The forum found urgent action was required at a national level and are asking for “a joint public health, food safety and consumer law solution that will deliver a consistent approach across all Australian jurisdictions”.

Last month Premier Mike Baird vowed to work with other state and territory leaders to stop health food stores selling the potentially deadly product.

His move followed Victoria’s tough action on producers of raw milk following the death of a Victorian child and the hospitalization of four other children in December. The children suffered severe complications as a result of food poisoning sourced to raw milk consumption.

The sale of raw milk is already banned for human consumption in all states and territories but raw milk is sold as ‘bath milk’ or ‘cosmetic milk’ with a disclaimer, but it is knowingly being consumed by people who argue the bacteria in raw milk are beneficial to health.

Microbiologist Professor Michael Eyles, chair of the Food Safety Information Council, said raw milk was a dangerous product because it contained dangerous bacteria which had the opportunity to multiply during packaging, transit and storage for retail.

colbert.raw.milk“It’s just irresponsible to sell raw milk and pretend it’s safe, it is not,” Prof Eyles said.

Victorians who give family members raw milk to drink face fines of $60,000 under new regulations.

As of Sunday, a strong bittering agent will be put into unpasteurized milk to deter people from consuming it, according to the state’s minister for consumer affairs, Jane Garrett.

More than 100 protesters gathering outside Garrett’s Brunswick office and vowing they would continue drinking milk in what they describe as its “purest form.”

Meanwhile, specialist cheese makers are welcoming a decision by the New Zealand and Australian health ministers to allow a wider range of cheeses to be made from raw milk.

The decision was made at a meeting of the ministers in Auckland. The new rules require that the raw milk cheese does not support the growth of disease-causing bacteria, and that there is no rise in the level of those during processing.