This is from a story published yesterday on the Surrey Leader.com:
“A second batch of tests has confirmed raw milk from Chilliwack-based Home On The Range cow-sharing co-op has dangerously high levels of bacteria, provincial health officials say.
Raw milk can be contaminated by fecal matter and U.S. states that permit unpasteurized milk sales require its bacterial count not exceed 10 coliform units per millilitre.
“We were getting numbers ranging from 570 in one sample of raw milk to 950,000 in another sample,” said provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall.
One sample of cream tested positive with a coliform count of six million per millilitre, he said.
“These are way in excess of what would be permitted in a state in the U.S. where this product could be legally distributed,” Kendall said.
Pasteurized milk can’t be sold in B.C. if the coliform count is over one unit per millilitre.
The tests were conducted by both the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and a second independent lab in Burnaby on 15 samples taken from stores that were acting as distributors to Home On The Range members.
About 30 per cent came back with evidence of contamination, Kendall said, including the high coliform counts and high E. coli counts.
The co-op farm, structured to get around B.C.’s ban on the sale of unpasteurized milk or dairy products, has so far refused to comply with orders from the Fraser Health Authority to cease distribution to its shareholders.
So far officials aren’t aware of anyone who has become sick from the raw dairy products, except for the case that triggered the recent investigation.
Kendall said a young girl in the Fraser Valley who has since recovered became ill in December with a case of food poisoning that was diagnosed as campylobacter and possibly E. coli infection.
“We found out she is from a family that was part of the cow-share operation and she was consuming raw milk on a regular basis.”
But public health officials then moved to collect product samples for testing from the distributors….”