Tag Archives: campylobacter

Farmer Edwin Shank sets a wonderful example for how to take responsibility

From David E. Gumpert on the Complete Patient blog:

“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.”  Continue reading

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Food safety questions: can readers help

A reader who prefers not to be identified is asking The Bovine community whether anyone can answer the following questions regarding food safety:

  1. If pathogens exist in a particular batch of raw milk (for instance, salmonella, campylobacter or e-coli O157:H7), and those pathogens are then killed by pasteurization , what effect (if any) do the dead bacteria have on consumers who later drink that milk?
  2. In particular, if e-coli O157:H7 is liable to release “shiga-like toxins” is there some possibility that killing the e-coli via pasteurization might precipitate the release of such toxins into the pasteurized milk?
  3. Does anyone have information on the use of activated charcoal or bentonite clay as a remedy (and in particular, a handy home remedy) for any of the pathogens that might be found in raw milk?

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Pennsylvania raw milk farm voluntarily shuts down because of test results

From David E. Gumpert at the Complete Patient blog:

[from a communique from “The Family Cow” raw milk farm in Pennsylvania, which does regular pathogen testing above and beyond government requirements] — “….”Just a few hrs ago, QC Laboratories, the laboratory we use for our voluntary, beyond-the-state-requirement pathogen testing, has reported the presence of Campylobacter in a sample of milk we sent them almost three weeks ago. I’ve spoken with state officials and they report there are no illnesses, but we still want you to know what we found. The milk in which the campylobacter was found was bottled on 1/10/11 and carries a ‘Best by’ date of 1/25. If you still have milk with this ‘Best by’ date, please discard it. Although, with milk that old, it’s probably long gone.

“There is no reason to believe that more than this date code of milk was effected, yet out of abundance of caution we are, as of today, voluntarily halting sales of raw milk from The Family Cow until we get a clear test. We are running two tests now on milk that was bottled since the positive sample. We will be in communication when we are ready to resume sales. We expect to have the test results back early next week. Sorry for the inconvenience, but we feel it would be remiss and irresponsible to continue to sell even though there have been no illnesses.” Continue reading

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Campylobacter in Indiana — from raw milk — the politics of being a victim

Here’s the latest on the American scene, from David E. Gumpert, of the Complete Patient blog. An excerpt:

“The campylobacter outbreak in Michigan and possibly other states affecting Family Farms Co-op just keeps getting worse and worse. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has put out an alert saying that 12 people have been confirmed ill from campylobacter “associated with raw milk.”

And today, the Family Farms Co-op announced that its supplier, Forest Grove Dairy of Indiana, is halting distribution. “Forest Grove Dairy has experienced increasing pressure from FDA over the past week, and notwithstanding the private nature of our herd lease and share arrangement, these pressures embody serious risks,” Family Farms Co-op said in an email to its members. The effect is to leave more than 250 families without their regular supply of raw milk. Continue reading

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Spin-doctoring around raw milk illness allegations — both in Colorado and B.C.

David E. Gumpert’s last three blog posts on the Complete Patient blog have followed the situation in Colorado in which stories of illness from raw milk have been making a big stir in the media. But before we get to excerpts from those, here’s Gordon Watson’s analysis of recent news spinning in the B.C. media over allegations of illness from raw milk from “Home on the Range” and how those have played out in the local media:

Scott Freeman, the man at the center of raw milk controversy in Colorado. Complete Patient photo.

“In December / January,  BC Health Authorities trotted-out so-called “lab results”, which seemed to show that milk from our dairy was ‘contaminated’. Samples of our milk were seized, and tested up to 6 days later, after being kept at the wrong temp. Then the fabricated results were blazed to the media as though our Agister was  putting out ‘dirty diseased milk’.  I  pointed out that these people  – who are supposed to know all about food safety –  had not bothered  to handle the samples as they were bound to,  under the Milk Industry Standards Regulation. Continue reading

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35 people sick with Campylobacter in Wisconsin reportedly all drank milk from the same raw dairy

This story first hit the news Thursday and we’ve yet to see any report that quotes a statement from the farmers involved. The Bovine has also tried to contact the farmers, with no success so far. So for now, we can only go on what has been published in the media. Here’s an excerpt from a story from the JournalTimes.com titled “Racine County residents sickened by raw milk“. A sidebar on the story asks victims to contact the reporter, presumably for followup reports. David E. Gumpert, in one of the articles below asks a very pertinent question — why can’t we use such cases to fine-tune raw milk production systems so this kind of thing doesn’t happen instead of as a pretext to restrict raw milk access even further?

Zinniker farm cows. Augusta Chronicle photo.

Zinniker farm cows. Augusta Chronicle photo.

State officials are blaming raw milk for sickening more than 30 people in southeastern Wisconsin, including residents from Racine and Kenosha counties.

Officials are warning consumers not to drink raw milk after test results and other evidence confirmed an illness outbreak involving at least 35 people, mainly teenagers and children, who drank unpasteurized milk, the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced this week.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services discovered 35 confirmed cases of campylobacter jejuni infection, including 21 patients under age 18.

The majority of the confirmed cases, 27, were from Walworth and Waukesha counties, the rest were in Racine and Kenosha counties. One person was hospitalized.

“Laws requiring pasteurization of milk have been on the books for more than half a century and there are good public health reasons for that,” Steve Ingham, head of the Food Safety Division in the DATCP, said in a news release. Continue reading

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