Raw Milk in the News
Food Safety News
BY NEWS DESK | JUNE 7, 2013
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval Thursday vetoed a bill to allow raw milk produced in rural Nye County to be distributed statewide, including the Las Vegas metropolitan area.
The Republican governor said his veto of Assembly Bill 209 (AB209) was prompted by the health concerns surrounding unpasteurized milk. He said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Medical Association and his own state health officer agreed that AB209 presents “significant public health risks.”
Under current Nevada law, local milk commissions are empowered to certify raw milk for sale solely within their county. Nye County has a milk commission that approves raw milk produced in the Amargosa Valley, but it needed AB209 to legally enter the Las Vegas market.
AB209 was passed unanimously by the Nevada House and encountered only four negative votes in the Senate.
Meanwhile across the country in Maine, the state Senate approved a measure exempting small raw milk producers from licensing requirements. It now goes over to the House.
Real Raw Milk Facts dairy-related outbreak and illness charts and tables were updated using CDC’s online foodborne disease outbreak database (1998-2010), and preliminary data gathered from government and dairy industry press releases, reports, and newsletters to document recent outbreaks (2011-present). Through May 2013, preliminary reports show a total of 4 outbreaks and 69 illnesses and at least 15 hosptializations from raw milk and cheese products due to Campylobacter and Salmonella infections. Thus far, no outbreaks from milk or cheese sold as pasteurized were identified in 2013.
Outbreaks from Foodborne Pathogens in Unpasteurized (Raw) Milk and Raw Milk Cheeses, United States, 1998-present
• 133 total outbreaks
o 99 fluid milk: 24 cow, 4 goat, 71 unspecified milk type
o 28 cheese: 2 aged, 3 homemade, 18 Mexican-style queso fresco, 1 goat chevre, 1 curds, 3 unspecified
o 6 multiple raw dairy products (fluid milk, cheese, and/or colostrum)
• 2,451 total illnesses, 2 deaths
o 1,786 fluid milk-related illnesses, no deaths: 460 cow, 63 goat, 1,263 unspecified
o 608 cheese-related illnesses: 46 aged, 80 homemade, 349 Mexican-style queso fresco (2 deaths), 5 goat chevre, 63 curds, 58 unspecified cheese type
o 57 multiple raw dairy products-related illnesses (fluid milk, cheese, and/or colostrum)
Download Table (pdf file): Raw-Dairy-Outbreak-Table.pdf
Outbreaks from Foodborne Pathogens in Milk and Cheeses Sold as Pasteurized, United States, 1998-present
• 29 total outbreaks
o 9 fluid milk
o 19 cheese: 16 non-Mexican style; 3 Mexican style queso fresco
o 1 powdered milk
• 2,824 total illnesses, 8 deaths
o 2,200 fluid milk-related illnesses (3 deaths)
o 588 cheese-related illnesses: 565 non-Mexican style (4 deaths), 23 Mexican style queso fresco (1 death)
o 36 powdered milk-related illnesses
Download Table (pdf file): pasteurized-dairy-outbreak-table.pdf
Foodborne disease outbreaks and recalls linked to raw milk from grassfed and pastured cows - Grassfed-Outbreaks.pdf
Herdshares linked to foodborne disease outbreaks and illnesses from raw milk -
Food Safety News
BY DAVID GUMPERT | MAY 31, 2013
Make no mistake, Vernon Hershberger won a huge victory in Saturday’s early morning hours in Baraboo, WI. “It’s a beautiful day,” Hershberger told me that morning, after a few hours of sleep following the 1 a.m. jury decision that acquitted him of three of four criminal misdemeanor charges. Yes, it was a beautiful day, for farming and for food rights.
The State threw everything it had at this humble father of ten children, and when it was over, its guys in the dark suits scampered out of the courtroom in the darkness of the night after a jury of twelve ordinary Americans handed them their heads on a platter. After less than four hours of consideration, those Americans told the hot-shot lawyers that their thousands of pages of legal documents and computer forensic experts and five days of arguing had failed miserably to convince a single one of them that Hershberger should be required to have any of three retail and dairy licenses insisted upon by the State.
Hershberger had already heard through the grapevine that the jurors didn’t give a moment’s thought to going with the state’s charges. “They tried their best to set me free,” he said.
The jurors convicted Hershberger only of something he publicly admitted to before and during the trial — that he had cut the regulators’ tape placed on his coolers and food shelves on June 2, 2010 so as to keep his food from rotting and to feed his 200 food club members — in other words, violated a holding order.
Continue reading, “Hershberger Victory Sends Message That People Can, and Will, Fight Overbearing Regulators” at Food Safety News.
Food Safety News
BY DAN FLYNN | MAY 31, 2013
The end of any legislative session can get a little chaotic.
In Carson City, they’re having end-of-session parties this weekend with adjournment coming no later than Monday, but the already passed Assembly Bill (AB) 209 still has not made its way to the Governor’s desk.
Asked Thursday whether Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has taken any action on AB 209 — making it legal to distribute raw milk statewide — press secretary Mary-Sarah Kinner told Food Safety News, “We will review the bill when we receive it.”
The Nevada Legislature’s website lists the bill’s status as of May 28 as “enrollment.” Typically that means getting the bill signed by the presiding officers of both legislative chambers before it is transmitted to the Governor.
When the bill is delivered to the Executive’s desk is important. If he receives it while the Legislature is still in session, he has five days to sign or veto the bill. If he does neither, it becomes law without his signature. If the Legislature is adjourned when the Governor receives the bill, he gets ten days to decide whether to sign or veto the bill.
AB 209 passed through both chambers of the Nevada Legislature with only a handful of votes against it, and won final passage on May 24. It’s now the missing element in a carefully drawn plan by a Nye County dairy to bring raw milk to Nevada’s sprawling Las Vegas market.
To continue reading, “Nevada Governor Will Have 5-10 Days To Decide AB 209′s Fate”, visit Food Safety News.
HARRISBURG, Pa., May 29, 2013—The Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture and Health today advised consumers to discard raw milk produced by The Family Cow in Chambersburg, Franklin County, because of potential bacterial contamination.
Agriculture and Health Department laboratory tests and several recent illnesses indicate the raw milk may contain Campylobacter bacteria.
The Department of Health has confirmed five cases of confirmed Campylobacter infection in people who consumed milk from the farm at 3854 Olde Scotland Road.
Based on the reported illnesses, the Department of Agriculture collected samples of raw milk during an investigation of The Family Cow, on May 17. Positive tests for Campylobacter were confirmed Tuesday.
The packaged raw milk is sold under The Family Cow label in plastic gallon, half-gallon, quart and pint containers. It is labeled as “raw milk.” Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized.
The Family Cow, owned and operated by Edwin Shank, sells directly to consumers in an on-farm retail store and at drop off locations and retail stores around Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley, as well as south-central Pennsylvania.
Agriculture officials ordered the owners of the farm to stop the sale of all raw milk until further notice.
Campylobacter bacteria affect the intestinal tract and sometimes the bloodstream and other organs. It is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis, which can include diarrhea and vomiting. Nearly 1,300 confirmed cases of Campylobacter are reported each year in Pennsylvania.
Onset of the illness usually occurs two to five days after ingesting the bacteria. Patients may not require specific medical treatment unless they become severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the gastrointestinal tract.
For more information about Campylobacter, visit http://www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
Samantha Elliott Krepps, Agriculture, 717-787-5085
Holli Senior, Health, 717-787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Food Safety News
BY MARY MCGONIGLE-MARTIN | MAY 28, 2013
Dear Governor Sandoval:
Seven years ago when my son became severely ill after drinking contaminated raw milk, I knew very little about the realities of contracting a foodborne illness. Despite the fact I’m educated and hold a master’s degree, I was naïve about foodborne pathogens. We all know someone who has eaten something and then hours later or the next day was sick. This was my foodborne illness knowledge base. I believed the worst that could happen was a few days of diarrhea and vomiting.
In the spring of 2006, the health food store where our family shops began selling raw milk. Huge signs hung in the store to catch customers’ attention claiming raw milk could heal asthma, allergies and digestive issues. My son was always congested after drinking pasteurized milk and he also suffers from ADD. I began to contemplate buying raw milk to see if it would help him. Had I not lived in California where raw milk is available in the grocery store, I would have never purchased it for my son. This is not a food I would have sought out in another manner illegally from a nearby farmer or herdshare program. The only reason I bought it is that it was readily available.
Initially I had some reservations, but the organization that encourages parents to feed their infants and children raw milk only focuses on the benefits; the risks of drinking raw milk are downplayed. The company that sold the milk had detailed information on its website about how it fed the cows grass and tested the milk for pathogens, so I thought it would be safe to drink. When I made the choice to buy raw milk from the grocery store, I didn’t know what choice I was really making. I never did see the microscopic state warning label on the back of the bottle. If a warning like this was front and center on the bottle, I would have never purchased it:
Warning: Unpasteurized milk, also known as raw milk, is a raw agricultural product and may contain harmful bacteria (not limited to E. coli, Campylobacter, Listeria, and Salmonella) and can lead to serious injury and even death. Pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, and persons with lowered resistance to disease (immune compromised) have higher risk for harm, which may include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, fever, dehydration, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, Guillian-Barre Syndrome, Reactive Arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, miscarriage, or death.
Note: Raw Milk must be kept refrigerated at 40 degrees at all times.
Continue reading, “Governor Sandoval: Don’t Legalize Raw Milk in Nevada” at Food Safety News.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2013
Contact: Laura Carpenter, 907-269-4541, Cell 907-632-7682
Second outbreak of Campylobacter illness in 2013 associated with raw milk
Bacteria strain linked to cow-share dairy farm on the Kenai Peninsula
ANCHORAGE — The Alaska Section of Epidemiology is investigating another outbreak of Campylobacter infection associated with the consumption of raw milk. This new outbreak is associated with raw milk distributed by the same Kenai Peninsula cow-share program that was linked to a Campylobacter outbreak sickened at least 31 people in February 2013.
In the current investigation, five cases of Campylobacter infection have been identified to date. Two of the five people sought medical attention. Testing by the Alaska State Public Health Laboratory identified the bacteria strain as Campylobacter jejuni. The exact same strain of C. jejuni was found in cow manure obtained earlier this year at the cow-share farm that distributed the raw milk. “The genetic fingerprint of the bacteria isolated from these two people and the cow is unique. It has never been seen before in the United States,” said Dr. Joe McLaughlin, State Epidemiologist. “These outbreaks are an unfortunate reminder of the inherent risks associated with raw milk consumption, and underscore the importance of pasteurization.”
Anyone who has developed gastrointestinal symptoms such as loose stools and cramping within 10 days after consuming raw milk should notify his or her health care provider. Persons who develop concerning symptoms of illness such as bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, arthritis, or muscle weakness should seek prompt medical attention.
Also, anyone who has consumed raw milk and subsequently experienced acute gastrointestinal illness in 2013 should notify the Section of Epidemiology Infectious Disease Program at 907-269-8000 (in Anchorage) or toll free at 1-800-478-0084.
Read full story: http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/AKDHSS-7c57fa
Health officials investigate Salmonella illnesses linked to unpasteurized cheese product
Twelve people sickened after eating queso fresco made in a private home
April 24, 2013
Twelve people have become ill with salmonellosis linked to eating a raw Mexican-style cheese, queso fresco, and state health officials are warning consumers about the risks of consuming unpasteurized dairy products.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the City of Minneapolis are investigating the outbreak and the source of the raw milk used to make the cheese.
MDH has confirmed 11 cases of infection with the same strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. Eight were hospitalized. Additional illnesses have been reported in family members of the cases, including two hospitalizations.
All have recovered. Many cases reported eating unpasteurized queso fresco purchased or received from an individual who made the product in a private home. Investigators have determined that the individual made home deliveries and also may have sold the product on a street corner near the East Lake Street area of Minneapolis.
Anyone who may have purchased or received this product recently should not eat it but should throw it away.
Health officials said consuming raw dairy products can be dangerous. Raw milk has been found to contain numerous pathogens that can cause serious illness, including Campylobacter, Shiga toxin-producing
Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and Yersinia. Pasteurization has been used for almost a century as a way to reduce diseases that were commonly caused by raw milk.
Minnesota law allows consumers to purchase raw milk directly from the farm for their own consumption, but it may not be distributed or sold off the farm. Additionally, cheese production facilities need to follow proper food safety laws and regulations, including licensure.
“While our immediate concern is that there might be additional illnesses associated with consumption of this particular product, we also want to remind people of the inherent risk of consuming any raw dairy product,” said Dr. Carlota Medus, foodborne illness epidemiologist with MDH. “We encourage people to think carefully about those risks before consuming raw dairy products from any source and know that the risks are especially high for young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.”
Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, especially in high risk groups. Healthy people infected with Salmonella often experience diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. Symptoms often begin 12-72 hours after consumption of contaminated food but can begin up to a week or more later. Anyone who believes they may have become ill with Salmonella should contact their health care provider.
Minnesota Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
City of Minneapolis Communications
City of Minneapolis
Read original press release: http://www.health.state.mn.us/news/pressrel/2013/salmonella042413.html
Food Safety News
by Dan Flynn
The Montana Alliance for Raw Milk (MTARM) fell just one vote short Thursday, meaning it will remain illegal for anyone in the Big Sky state to sell raw milk for human consumption.
And it was a wild ride.
But instead of mourning the second death of their bill in the Senate, raw milk advocates said the Senate amendments made the bill unworkable for small producers and said they were glad it went down.
House Bill 574, sponsored by state Rep. Champ Edmunds (R-Missoula) went from a lofty 96-to-3 vote in the House last month to failing to achieve the 34 votes it needed in the Senate Tuesday when it garnered only a 29-to-21 favorable vote.
Then on Thursday MTARM rallied to get another final vote on HB 574 through reconsideration. It got the vote, but still fell short of the two-thirds majorioty required with a 32-17 vote. (With 49 voting, 33 “yea” votes were required for a supermajority.)
Continue reading, “Just One Vote Keeps Ban on Raw Milk Sales in Montana” at Food Safety News.
By Mark Binker
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina residents would be able to buy raw, unpasteurized milk under a bill filed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
The measure was filed by Reps. Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance, Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, and Jo Sam Queen, D-Haywood. It would allow residents to buy shares in a lactating animal in order to obtain its unpasteurized milk.
Pasteurization is a process through which heat is applied to milk in order to kill bacteria and other contaminants. According to the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unpasteurized raw milk can spread salmonella, Campylobacter and other diseases. Raw milk can be sold in North Carolina but only for animal feed and only if marked and dyed in order to discourage human consumption.
However, some natural food advocates extol what they see as the health benefits of not subjecting milk to pasteurization. They have pushed for a number of raw milk legalization measures over the past decade, none of which have passed.
To continue reading “Bill filed to allow raw milk sales,” visit WRAL.com.
Search the Foodborne Illness Database
Several families offered to share their stories on video to help raise awareness about the potential risks and negative effects on health from drinking contaminated raw milk.