“The last week or so has been a terrible time for Edwin Shank and his family, along with twenty or more of his raw milk customers.
The suspicions that his dairy’s milk was behind an outbreak of campylobacter were confirmed when the Maryland Department of Health reported yesterday that it isolated campylobacter in two unopened jugs of the Pennsylvania dairy’s raw milk retrieved from a customer’s refrigerator.
“So now the wondering, suspense and uncertainty is over for our family and farm crew and is replaced by humiliation and embarrassment,” Shank wrote in a letter to customers and friends of The Family Cow. “Dawn and I have shed a lot of tears over this. Now we know for sure what the growing list of emails and calls from you were pointing to. It was us. We are very sorry.”
To his credit, Shank has handled the entire crisis of the last week in an upfront, transparent way. He cooperated fully with public health authorities and did extensive private testing in an effort to get to the bottom of the reports of illness among his customers. Campylobacter isn’t easy to isolate in milk, it turns out.
Even today, he invited those sickened by his dairy’s milk to call in. “We would love to communicate with you personally. We really do care. You won’t be the first customer we have cried with this week. My personal email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can, please leave your phone number too. Sometimes I get so tired of emailing that I would rather just talk.”…”