43 sickened: Yersinia in raw milk in Finland

In March 2014, a Yersinia pseudotuberculosis (YP) outbreak was detected by a municipal authority in southern Finland.

napoleon.raw.milkWe conducted epidemiological, microbiological and traceback investigations to identify the source. We defined a case as a person with YP infection notified to the National Infectious Disease Registry between February and April 2014, or their household member, with abdominal pain and fever ≥ 38 °C or erythema nodosum. Healthy household members were used as household-matched controls. We identified 43 cases and 50 controls. The illness was strongly associated with the consumption of raw milk from a single producer. The odds ratio of illness increased with the amount of raw milk consumed. Also previously healthy adults became infected by consuming raw milk. Identical YP strains were identified from cases’ stool samples, raw milk sampled from a case’s refrigerator and from the milk filter at the producer’s farm. The producer fulfilled the legal requirements for raw milk production and voluntarily recalled the raw milk and stopped its production.

We advised consumers to heat the raw milk to 72 °C for 15 s. Current legislation for raw milk producers should be reviewed and public awareness of health risks linked to raw milk consumption should be increased.

 Outbreak of Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis O:1 Infection Associated With Raw Milk Consumption, Finland, Spring 2014

Eurosurveillance, Volume 20, Issue 40, 08 October 2015

T Pärn, S Hallanvuo, S Salmenlinna, A Pihlajasaari, S Heikkinen, H Telkki-Nykänen, M Hakkinen,  J Ollgren, S Huusko, R Rimhanen-Finne


‘Doesn’t have all the industrialized stuff in it’ Raw goats milk in Alaska

After we won the hockey final yesterday, several of the parents said to me or Amy, “we didn’t expect that. Our team dominated.”

goats-1-600x450We were up 6-0 before the other team knew what was happening.

On the drive home Amy said, I told them, Doug probably had a plan (which I did). I appear sorta dopey (which is easy), but do the homework and know the game.

And sometimes get lucky.

Watching the raw milk comings-and-goings is something like that.

The majority of producers invoke the gosh-shucks-raw-is-just-natural line, without adding that smallpox is also natural. And E. coli.

The regulators seem lost in this rhetorical garden, portrayed as villains, even though the are relied upon to clean up the mess when things go bad.

Victor Nelson and his wife, Tabitha, have been supplying raw milk from their dairy goats to people in Petersburg, reported KFSK-FM.

The couple raises chickens, pigs and goats on a few acres of land at Point Agassiz, an area across the sound from Petersburg. They’re the only family living out there year-round, surrounded by craggy peaks, cedar trees and glaciers.

“We started with two goats and just for raising quality milk that doesn’t have all that industrialized stuff in it and people kept asking us so we decided to buy a few more and a few more,” said Tabitha Nelson.

They have more than 30 now.

The Nelsons say people go crazy for the fresh milk — “We could never meet the whole demand for Petersburg,” said Tabitha — but there are limitations on how they can sell it.

In Alaska, you can only buy raw dairy products like the Nelsons’ unpasteurized goat milk through a herd share agreement, so the customers in Petersburg are partial owners of the goats.

Unpasteurized dairy products are heavily regulated because they’ve been known to carry disease-causing microorganisms like E. coli. In 2013, a campylobacter outbreak on the Kenai peninsula was linked to raw milk.

Food safety silliness: 30-second food safety stories

There once was a dentist name Price.

He thought raw milk was all very nice.

miley.cyrus.tongueHe helped invent the Paleo diet.

And even, I’m told, Miley Cyrus likes it.

So it must be true.


But I want my food, like my medicine, to be based in 2015.

Not 1939.

30-second food safety stories.

Don’t get me started on microorganisms.

Another raw milk review, another catalogue of (unnecessary) risks

This review concentrates on information concerning microbiological hazards possibly present in raw milk dairy products, in particular cheese, butter, cream and buttermilk.

colbert.raw.milkThe main microbiological hazards of raw milk cheeses (especially soft and fresh cheeses) are linked to Listeria monocytogenes, verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC), Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella and Campylobacter. L. monocytogenes, VTEC and S. aureus have been identified as microbiological hazards in raw milk butter and cream albeit to a lesser extent because of a reduced growth potential compared with cheese. In endemic areas, raw milk dairy products may also be contaminated with Brucella spp., Mycobacterium bovis and the tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV). Potential risks due to Coxiella burnetii and Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) are discussed.

Pasteurisation ensures inactivation of vegetative pathogenic microorganisms, which increases the safety of products made thereof compared with dairy products made from raw milk. Several control measures from farm to fork are discussed.

 A review of the microbiological hazards of dairy products made from raw milk

International Dairy Journal. November 2015 vol. 50 pgs. 32-44

Verraes, G. Vlaemynck, S. Van Weyenberg, L. De Zutter, G. Daube, M. Sindic, M. Uyttendaele, and L. Herman


2 sick from crypto linked to raw milk in Tenn

The Tennessee Department of Health is investigating multiple cases of residents who fell ill from consuming raw milk.

colbert.raw.milkThe health department launched the investigation after confirming two Chattanooga-area cases of cryptosporidiosis, a gastrointestinal disease from a parasite that lurks in contaminated water or unpasteurized milk. Both cases are linked to a dairy cow share program, which the state legalized in 2009, allowing greater access to raw milk.

“Consuming raw milk in the belief it’s healthier than pasteurized milk is a perilous risk that shakes off the possibility of a range of serious and occasionally fatal illnesses for the individuals and anyone they share it with,” John Dreyzehne, TDH commissioner, said in a news release. “Our best choice for healthy, nutritious milk is the pasteurized kind. Even if one believes there are health benefits, an upside, is it worth gambling on the downside risk of a serious illness, especially in a child?”

Since the state legalized cow share programs, reports have increased of disease and outbreaks linked to raw milk consumption. In 2013, nine Tennessee children became extremely sick with E. coli after drinking raw milk. Five of those required hospitalization and three developed severe, life-threatening kidney problems.

Same people who promote piping hot: UK restrictions on raw milk should remain

The board of the UK Food Standards Authority today agreed that the current restrictions on the sale of raw milk should remain in place, following the conclusion of the FSA’s review of raw drinking milk controls.

Raw-Milk-Card-FrontThe FSA Board met to discuss the findings of the comprehensive review of the regulations that control the sale of unpasteurised, or raw, drinking milk.

The review concluded that:

the risk associated with raw drinking milk consumption, except for vulnerable groups, is acceptable when appropriate hygiene controls are applied

the current restriction on sales of raw milk should remain in place as there is uncertainty that consumer protection can be maintained if the market for raw milk is expanded

risk communication could be improved, particularly for vulnerable groups, and changes to the labelling requirements are proposed to reflect this

The Board accepted the conclusions of the review.  However, they noted concerns that consumers should be more aware of the risks and asked that the FSA be clear in its advice not to drink raw milk.

Road-side dairy milks goats and sells to passers-by in China

An enterprising couple have been spotted milking goats by the side of the road, before selling bottles of the stuff to passers-by.

Road.side.goat.dairy.chinaThe unnamed pair were selling the fresh produce on a busy road in Xi’an, central China, last Wednesday, reported the People’s Daily Online

The couple used empty 500ml water bottles to collect the milk straight from the udder. It was then sold to waiting customers for 10 Yuan (£1) per bottle.

Some experts have raised concerns about the safety of the milk as unpasteurised dairy may contain harmful bacteria such as E.coli.


Wasted resources on raw milk: Regulators not pursuing raw milk sales in Wisc.

There’s rules, and then there’s rules.

raw.milk.idahoAnd as long as no one gets sick, it doesn’t hit the chatting classes, and no goes to jail, they’re just rules (sorta).

I’ve always said, hypocrisy is parents’ disease.

Applies to regulators too, apparently.

An Australian prof-type who is traveling in the U.S. sent this picture from Idaho today, another state of many grappling with the ambition and angst of sick people.

Approaching summer, when city dwellers often seek fresh food from area farms, Wisconsin state regulators say they’re not aggressively pursuing cases against farmers who illegally sell raw, unpasteurized milk to the public, but the laws are still in place.

“Some people are simply willing to take their chances with the authorities…while others are quite deep in the underground. Certainly I will protect my farmer,” said Margo Redmond of Madison, a board member of the Wisconsin Raw Milk Association.

Wisconsin has been at the center of a national controversy over raw milk sales. That’s partly because of the trial of Loganville farmer Vernon Hershberger, who in 2013 was acquitted of three criminal charges that included operating an unlicensed retail store and operating a dairy farm and dairy processing facility without licenses.

Earlier this year, state officials suspended for 30 days the Grade-A milk production permit of a Durand dairy farm blamed for a raw-milk illness outbreak that sickened nearly 40 people.

But some raw milk consumers say state officials have been less aggressive since the Hershberger trial.

“That’s what we have been assuming and hoping for,” Redmond said.


Australia and raw milk: delusion continues

Controversial south-west farmer Swampy Marshnice handle — has opened up another front in his battle with bureaucracy, this time over his sale of raw unpasteurised milk to Melbourne farmers’ markets and health food shops.

swampy's.organic.farmMr Marsh is challenging Dairy Food Safety Victoria to take him to court over his refusal to comply with the new licence conditions that require raw milk to be treated in a manner that deters people from drinking it.

Mr Marsh said he was selling the raw milk for cosmetic use and it was not his concern if people drank it.

“Once they buy it, they can do what they like with it,” he said.

The new licence conditions, which require raw milk suppliers to change its taste, texture or aroma to deter human consumption, were introduced following the death of a three-year-old child on the Mornington Peninsula last December after consuming raw milk.

Four other children, aged between one and five, also became ill after drinking raw milk late last year.

But Mr Marsh claimed the child who died had terminal cancer and the death had “nothing to do with milk.”

Dr Rosemary Lester, who was the Victorian chief health officer at the time of the child’s death, said the child died from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which affects the kidneys and the bloodstream.

Mr Marsh said he sold about 1,000 litres of raw milk each week to Melbourne outlets, such as farmers’ markets and organic food groups.

The raw milk came from two milk producers in the south-west, he said.

It was a sideline to his sales in Melbourne of organic eggs and other grades of eggs, Mr Marsh said.

He had been selling the raw milk in Melbourne for about 20 years and “drinking it for about 65 years”, he said.