“Controversy seems to be lurking in the supposed manner in which two of the children became ill from E.coli O157:H7 in OPDC milk. In a comment following my previous post, McAfee stated, “We do know that at least two of the most sickened children did not drink raw milk,….but drank OPDC after it had been ‘fermented and cultured with store bought Kefir cultures ‘ ” There is nothing in the CDPH report letter that details the circumstances of how the milk was consumed by the sickened children.
But in an email today to Stephen Beam, head of the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s dairy division, McAfee requested that publicity coming out of that agency explain his understanding about how the milk was used by a customer. “In all fairness, it is crucial that your department and CDPH both include in your press releases, that two of the hospitalized and most sickened children, did not drink raw milk at all. They instead drank a homemade brew of cultured raw milk with added cultures in their own containers and the end product contained millions of bacteria per ml. They also ate cultured vegetables that were soaked in raw whey collected from this cultured Kefir.
That is an entirely different story….than two sickened kids drinking fresh raw milk…I would be very disappointed in the accuracy of the report if it did not include that the two most sickened kids drank a home cultured kefir and not our fresh raw milk.”
In the aftermath of the outbreaks over two months in late summer and early fall, OPDC was shut down for four weeks, and then, after it re-opened, prohibited from selling colostrum. It’s not clear if the colostrum prohibition is related to the finding of the rare shiga-producing pathogen in the colostrum.
I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this story quite yet. On the matter of fermenting the milk to make kefir or yogurt, lots of consumers do that. Is McAfee suggesting people shouldn’t do that, or that it should be done “at your own risk”? Just when you think you’ve heard the last of the issues surrounding raw milk safety, a new one rears its head..”