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.

Irony can be ironic: State lawmakers suffer stomach illness after drinking raw milk to celebrate legalizing raw milk, coincidence or causation?

In the weeks after passing a bill, allowing West Virginians to drink raw milk, one delegate brought the drink in to celebrate and, eventually, several lawmakers have gotten sick.

wv_copySome lawmakers say it’s just a coincidence and a stomach bug is going around.

Coincidence they all drank the raw milk?

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that during announcements in the House chamber Thursday, Delegate Scott Cadle, R-Mason, invited lawmakers — and anyone else who wanted to “live dangerously” — to sample raw milk that he had brought from a Mason County dairy. A handful of lawmakers who drank the raw milk later got sick, though there’s been no evidence that Cadle’s milk was the cause.

“There’s nobody up there that got sick off that milk,” said Cadle, who was home sick with a stomach bug Monday but returned to work at the state Capitol on Tuesday. “It’s just bad timing, I guess.”

The state Bureau of Public Health started an investigation Tuesday after receiving a complaint that the raw milk might have caused a disease outbreak.

Discussions of the raw milk, and ailing legislators and staff, dominated Capitol hallways this week.

After Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the raw milk bill into law last week, Cadle walked up and down the Capitol’s East Wing, which houses delegates’ offices, offering up milk samples to anyone wanting a taste. Some people took just a sip, while others drank a glassful.

colbert.raw_.milk_“It ain’t because of the raw milk,” Cadle said. “With that many people around and that close quarters and in that air and environment, I just call it a big germ. All that Capitol is is a big germ.”

Officials with the Bureau for Public Health and Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said Tuesday they hadn’t received any recent reports about illnesses caused by raw milk.

Several legislators who’ve been sick with stomach viruses did not sample the raw milk.

The raw milk bill doesn’t legalize the sale of raw milk. Instead, the legislation allows “herd-sharing” agreements, where people buy a share in a cow or other milk-producing animal and use that animal’s raw milk. Anyone who enters such an agreement must sign a statement acknowledging the risks of raw milk, specifically that it may contain bacteria like Listeria, salmonella and E. coli.

State law and DHHR rules forbid the sale or distribution of raw milk.

“Offering or selling raw milk to the public is prohibited,” according to the rules. Violators face a $50 to $500 fine, but DHHR officials said they were unaware of the law ever being enforced.

“I might have been breaking the law,” Cadle said. “Hell, I don’t know. I gave it away.”

Cadle, who is running for Mason County Commission instead of re-election to the House, would not say where he got the raw milk — only that it came from a neighbor’s dairy.

“I got a place to get it, and I’m not going to tell where I got it,” Cadle said. “It was free.”

Raw still risky: Sick people from E. coli O157 in raw milk in NZ

While the raw milk dairy disciples of the Australian state of Victoria continue to press ahead with claims of unfairness after a government crackdown – because a kid died and others were injured – and Internet quacks spout nutrition horse manure, a raw milk dairy farmer in New Zealand was asked to stop sales after two outbreaks of illness linked to his product.

wholy.moo.nzThe regulators couldn’t be more Canadian unless they said pretty please.

NZ Ministry for Primary Industries director-general Martyn Dunn says Wholy Moo owner, Chris Lethbridge, was asked to stop sales after he was the focus of two compliance investigations in the past six months following two outbreaks of foodborne illness in the Auckland and Northland regions.

“Both outbreaks involved children as well as adults.”

Numbers?

Mr. Wholy Moo told the Advocate last week that he was closing down over compliance costs that were expensive and prohibitive.

“In both cases, the patients reported regularly drinking Wholy Moo raw milk, and MPI investigated.

colbert.raw_.milk_“The more recent outbreak involved patients getting sick from STEC E. coli O157:H7, a strain of bacteria that, in severe cases, can lead to death.”

MPI and the local district health board were able to test Wholy Moo milk for pathogens and test results have showed that the milk contained STEC E. coli O157:H7.

Since the investigation, Mr Lethbridge has advised MPI that he has chosen to stop his operations.

However, Mr Lethbridge denies that the illnesses have been proven to be linked with his milk product.

“We all get sick but just because they were drinking raw milk means they [raw milk suppliers] get picked on. MPI think they have proven [a link between the illnesses and his product] but I can’t see how they have.”

Mr Lethbridge said he is 99.9 per cent the E. coli was not in his milk when he sold it.

With such statistical prowess, Mr Lethbridge should enter the lottery.

He’d be rich.

Going public: 10 sick with E. coli O157 linked to raw milk in California

Apparently I wasn’t imagining when I wrote the Spongebob cone of silence – usually reserved for leafy greens, cantaloupes and sometimes tomatoes — had finally been lifted on an E. coli O157 outbreak involving raw milk in California.

spongebob.oil_.colbert.may3_.10Organic Pastures Dairy in Fresno County voluntarily recalled its raw milk in Jan. 2016 after internal tests found evidence of E. coli. The tainted milk caused at least 10 illnesses, with six of those victims reporting they drank Organic Pastures raw milk, said California Department of Public Health officials on Mar. 1, 2016.

The victims all had closely related strains of E. coli O157, the health department said.

Dairy owner Mark McAfee said that in early January the company voluntarily recalled the milk within 36 hours of determining the presence of E. coli.

At the time of the last announcement, CDPH types told Healthy Magician the state health department is continuing to investigate the outbreak, but will not provide specific details.

“The environmental investigation is ongoing. CDPH has collected a large number of samples including feces, water and raw milk, which are still undergoing evaluation at the department’s Food and Drug Laboratory Branch,” the CDPH spokesman said via email.

When they are available, the department will not release them until the investigation is finished, the CDPH spokesman said last Tuesday.

The department has not published any statements about the outbreak or investigation.

“CDPH does not routinely post in-process updates on its active investigations,” the department’s spokesman said via email. “If the public needs to be alerted about an adulterated food, CDPH will issue a Health Advisory warning consumers of the food that should be avoided.

colbert.raw_.milk_“In this case, the outbreak was identified and the voluntary recall issued by the firm after the shelf-life of the product had expired. Since no product was believed to remain in the marketplace, no health alert was issued.”

However, legal eagle Bill Marler got his hands on a summary of the investigation dated March 3, 2013. The report concludes:

Evidence collected to date, indicates that cattle in the OPDC milking herd were shedding E. coli O157 that matched PFGE patterns associated with ten illnesses in January 2016. In early January 2016, Cow 149 produced milk contaminated with E. coli O157 which may have been bottled and shipped to the public. Feces, soil, and water collected from OPDC on February 8, 2016 tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, and PFGE patterns for those isolates also matched those patterns associated with the illnesses. The collection of environmental samples from OPDC on February 8, 2016 focused on feces likely deposited on February 6, 7, and 8. It is unlikely that the positive findings from February 8, 2016 represent conditions linked entirely to Co 149. The isolation of E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli from cattle used to produce raw milk for human consumption is concerning and could result in additional illness to raw milk consumers in the future if not addressed at the dairy.