“The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is warning British Columbians to discard raw milk from a Chilliwack dairy after some products tested positive for fecal contamination.
An investigation by Public Health officials found some of the Home on the Range Dairy’s unpasteurized products were tainted, likely by germs from the bowels of either animals or humans.
Dairy owner Alice Jongerden believes her raw milk is safe, but did say that contamination might have occurred at the beginning of December when she changed her cows’ bedding from sand to a product called straw-dust.
“We didn’t have enough bedding for about a week’s time,” said Mrs. Jongerden. “The cows were a little bit dirtier.”
Mrs. Jonderden received an e-mail from a milk customer about two weeks ago, stating that the milk tasted slightly off. Mrs. Jongerden then tested her cows, and found one animal with high somatic cell counts. That cow was removed from the farm.
Mrs. Jongerden said this is the first health-related incident for the farm, which has been operating for three years.
“Raw milk is safe to drink when it’s dealt with properly. But nobody wants to help make this a safe product…they want to ban it completely, so we have do everything on our own,” said Mrs. Jongerden.
It is illegal to sell unpasteurized milk in Canada. However, raw dairy farmers avoid this obstacle by selling customers shares in their herds. Part-owners then consume the raw milk from the dairy.
At Home on the Range, shareholders pay a one-time fee of $125, and a weekly maintenance and boarding fee of $17.50. This guarantees the customer one gallon of milk per week.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall said officials from Fraser Health began testing Home on the Range milk products after a child, who regularly consumed raw milk products from the dairy, fell ill with a gastro-intestinal illness. The child tested positive for bacteria commonly found in raw milk, although her sickness cannot directly be connected to unpasteurized milk….”
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