Raw milk blamed for food poisoning outbreak in Wisconsin — is this standard operating procedure?

Here’s a story about raw milk in Wisconson that comes to us from Steve and Paula Runyon in Alaska. Seems local public health officials are keen to blame an outbreak of food-borne illness on raw milk consumption. Read how it’s done in this exciting post “Is Raw Milk Safe”:

“July 14, 2002—Public officials have falsely blamed an outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni, causing diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever in hundreds of people, on the consumption of raw milk obtained in a Wisconsin cow-share program.

According to a report issued by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and accepted without further investigation by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 70 of 75 persons confirmed with the illness drank unpasteurized milk from Clearview Acres Farm in Sawyer County. Clearview Acres disputes the official numbers, citing widespread cases of illness in Sawyer and adjoining counties. Independent reports gleaned from emergency room nurses estimate that campylobacter infection afflicted as many as 800 individuals–most of whom did not drink raw milk–throughout Northwest Wisconsin during the 12 weeks following November 10, 2001. Reports of illness continued for eight weeks after provision of raw milk to cow-share holders had ceased.

Clearview owners report that only 24 of 385 cow-share owners became ill–8 confirmed cases and 16 probable family members of the 8 confirmed. Most had consumed hamburger at a local restaurant. No illness occurred in the remaining 361 individuals consuming raw milk from Clearview Acres farm.

The discrepancy in government figures and those of Clearview Acres is due to interview tactics of local officials. Afflicted individuals admitted to Howard Area Memorial Hospital, serving Sawyer County, were questioned as to whether they drank raw milk. Medical personnel only tested those who had consumed raw milk. All others were given Cipro sent home with out further investigation. Reports of illness in other hospitals were ignored.

Clearview Acres is a Grade A dairy with an excellent history of cleanliness. In October 2001, Clearview Acres received the second highest rating of all farms receiving federal inspection. The rating was 99 out of a possible 100. The dairy regularly tests its milk for presence of pathogens. All tests, including those for campylobacter, have been negative.”

Read it in its original form with pictures, here on Steve and Paula’s blog.

1 Comment

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One response to “Raw milk blamed for food poisoning outbreak in Wisconsin — is this standard operating procedure?

  1. Pingback: Raw milk — presumed guilty? — or is it just “rounding up the usual suspects”? « The Bovine

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