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Real Raw Milk Facts

Raw Milk in the News

Utah: Outbreak Of Campylobacter Illness Associated With Drinking Raw Milk

Aug 26, 2014 by Real Raw Milk Facts

Utah Department of Health

News Releases

Outbreak of Illness Associated with Drinking Raw Milk

(Salt Lake City) – Utah public health officials are investigating a cluster of illness associated with the consumption of raw or unpasteurized milk. To date, 45 cases of Campylobacter infection have been reported in people who indicated that they consumed raw milk in the week before illness began. Cases have been reported from: Cache, Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber counties. Two cases occurred in out of state residents from California and Idaho. Onset dates range from May 9, 2014 to July 21, 2014. The cases range in age from two to 74 years.

All 45 cases are linked to the consumption of raw milk or cream purchased at Ropelato Dairy in Weber County. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food inspectors suspended the dairy’s license to sell raw milk on August 4, 2014, after several tests of raw milk samples taken at the farm were positive for Campylobacter.

According to Larry Lewis, Public Information Officer, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, “Inspectors have repeatedly visited the dairy, reviewing safety procedures, working with the owner to determine the source of the problem and helping devise corrective actions.”  The dairy has been very cooperative in working with the inspectors, and will be allowed to resume raw milk sales as soon as the milk consistently passes safety tests.

Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. Illness can last for up to a week or more and can be serious, especially for young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those who have weakened or compromised immune systems. UDOH Epidemiologist, Kenneth Davis adds, “In some severe cases, illness can lead to complications, including paralysis and death. If you have recently consumed raw milk and are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider.”

Raw milk is from cows, goats or sheep that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. This raw, unpasteurized milk can contain dangerous bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli, which are responsible for causing foodborne illness. Other products that contain raw milk, such as cream or queso fresco, can also cause foodborne illness.

Raw milk contaminated with disease-causing bacteria does not smell or look any different from uncontaminated raw milk, and there is no easy way for the consumer to know whether the raw milk is contaminated.

Since 2009, there have been 14 documented outbreaks of Campylobacter infection associated with raw milk consumption in Utah, with more than 200 people becoming ill. In response, public health officials again warn that drinking raw milk may be dangerous. They suggest taking the following steps to avoid illness when purchasing and/or consuming raw milk (or raw milk products):

•  Purchase raw milk only from those stores or dairies permitted by law to sell it. However, a government permit does not guarantee that the raw milk (or raw milk product) will be free from disease-causing bacteria.

•  Keep raw milk and raw milk products refrigerated at or below 40°F. Do not let raw milk sit out at room temperature.

Media Contacts:

Becky Ward, UDOH (o) 801-538-6682 (c) 801-352-1270

Larry Lewis, UDAF (o) 801-538-7104 (c) 801-514-2152

Read more:

Wisconsin: Raw Milk Goat Cheese Recall

Jul 30, 2014 by Real Raw Milk Facts

SW Wisc Dairy Goat Products Coop issues voluntary recall of Raw Goat Milk Mild Cheddar Cheese Lot Code 103-114 because of possible health risk

Contact Consumer: 1-608-734-3151

Media: Patricia Lund/Shannon Adams 1-608-734-3151

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 28, 2014 – SW Wisc Dairy Goat Products Coop of Mt Sterling, Wisc is recalling Raw Milk Mild Cheddar Cheese Lot Code 103-114 because it may be contaminated with Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O111:H8 bacteria. This is one of the 6 STEC strains that have been deemed to be of serious health concern as it can cause diarrheal illness, often with bloody stools, and may lead to more severe complications like Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals and can lead to severe kidney damage and even death.

This product was distributed in the Midwest and Southwest regions of the US. This product was sent through distributorship in Wisconsin and Georgia. From these two states this product was then sent to retail stores in the Midwest and Southwest.

This product was packed as an 8oz cryovac retail size piece with the code 103-114 on a sticker attached to the side of the cheese. This product is all white in appearance and has a front and back separate label. The back label is a black and white nutrition and ingredient label and the front label is a yellow and blue colored label with the Mt Sterling Coop Creamery brand name. “No illnesses have been reported to date.”

The recall was initiated after a case of two five pound loafs in the original packaging was collected on 7-8—14 from an offsite warehouse. The product sample tested positive for Shiga toxin 1and was contaminated with E. coli O111:H8.

Consumers who may have purchased this product with the code date listed are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-608-734-3151.

Washington Consumers Warned to Avoid Raw Milk and Raw Cream

Jun 29, 2014 by Real Raw Milk Facts

Ryan McCarthey, who owns and operates the dairy at 1915 Towne Road with his wife, Sarah, said Saturday they were notified by the state Department of Agriculture on Friday evening that inspectors may have found the bacteria in samples of the dairy’s whole raw cream.

He said the state samples did not find Escherichia coli bacteria but could not rule out its presence from the samples.

The McCartheys expect to receive updated results early this week. In the meantime, they are recalling the batch.

“We wanted to get the world out as quickly as possible to consumers,” McCarthey said.

“At this point, it may be nothing. But we don’t want to wait.”

They posted a notice of Agriculture’s finding on the creamery’s Facebook page Saturday and were alerting customers and vendors not to use products with the July 2 date and to pull them off the shelves.

Read the whole story:

The Raw Truth About Unpasteurized Milk

Jun 01, 2014 by Real Raw Milk Facts

Nipunie Rajapakse, MD, and Devika Dixit, MD report at ABC News

Your local farmer’s market may be your first stop for farm-fresh summer fare, but certain foods can carry serious risks.

Raw dairy products – those sold without having gone through a heating process called pasteurization – have been touted as cures for conditions ranging from allergies to high blood pressure. There’s no science to back up such claims, and what we do know is that skipping pasteurization can expose consumers to dangerous bacteria.

“Raw milk has risks,” said Dr. Martin Blaser, professor of medicine and microbiology at the New York University School of Medicine. “Some people may be willing to take those risks, but certainly there are risks.”

Blaser said that in his work with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, he has investigated a number of infections tied to raw dairy products. Some cause abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. But in pregnant women, the elderly, immunocompromised people and young children, the consequences of infection can be even more dangerous.

Among dairy product-associated outbreaks that occurred between 1998-2011, 79 percent were due to raw milk or cheese, and most of those affected were children, according to the CDC. The agency says that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness than pasteurized products.

“For parents who are concerned for the health of their children, they should know that this is risky,” Blaser said.

The sale of raw milk directly to consumers has been made illegal in about half of U.S. states, according to the CDC. And in May, the Louisiana Senate killed a bill that would have allowed the sale and distribution of raw milk.

Even in states where the direct sale of raw milk is illegal, people can still get it by participating in “cow share” programs, which involve paying fees to farmers for the care, boarding and milking of a cow in exchange for raw milk. Health officials have attributed two recent cases of E.coli infections in Michigan to these informal agreements.

But it’s unlikely that the popularity of raw milk products will fade any time soon. Proponents claim that the pasteurization process changes the nutritional content of milk – a notion that several studies have refuted.

A Doctor’s Take - read more here:

See our tables of outbreaks from milk sold as raw and pasteurized:



Press Release: E. coli O157 Cases Traced to a Raw Milk Cow Share in Michigan

May 16, 2014 by Real Raw Milk Facts

Unpasteurized Milk Products Hazardous To Your Health

For Immediate Release

Two cases of E. coli 0157:H7 in West Michigan have been traced back to consumption of raw milk products from an Ottawa County cow share program. In March, a 31 year old Muskegon County woman became ill after drinking raw milk, and in April, a 6 year old ch ild from Kent County became ill after possible consumption of the raw milk product.

Organisms that make people sick are found in the intestines of animals. Contamination of milk occurs when fecal matter is present on the udder of an animal or in the equipment used to process the milk. Enough bacteria to cause illness can be present and not be visibly dirty upon inspection. Pasteurizing is the process of heating the milk to high temperatures to kill the harmful bacteria that make you sick. Raw or unpasteurized milk (sometimes called fresh milk or fresh unprocessed milk) is milk that comes directly from a cow, goat, sheep or other animal’s udder and is not heat treated (pasteurized) to kill bacteria. Raw milk carries a much higher risk of causing serious illness than pasteurized milk, and you cannot see or smell the germs in raw milk that make you sick.

Some believe drinking raw milk products is more nutritious and provides the body with “good bacteria”. The pasteurizing process does not significantly change the nutritional value of milk, and due to the risk of serious illness, there are far safer sources of good bacteria than raw milk. Pasteurized probiotic yogurts, kefir, and other products are a great source of probiotics.

The CDC reports that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness, and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy products. Due to poorly developed immune systems, infants and children are at greater risk for becoming sick and are more likely to suffer from long term damage from diseases linked to drinking raw milk.

Due to the health risk of consuming raw milk, it is not legal to sell raw milk or raw milk products in the State of Michigan. Because of this, raw milk is obtained through herd share programs. In a herd share program, consumers purchase a share of a cow and, as the owner of the cow, are provided raw milk from the farmer. These herd share dairy programs are not licensed or inspected by state or local agencies.

If you or someone you know has become ill in the days following consumption of a raw milk product, seek medical attention. Symptoms of illness include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain along with fever, headache, and body ache. Pregnant women, infants, small children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses should never consume raw milk products.

Download the Press Release: Michigan_PR.pdfMichigan_PR.pdfMichigan_PR.pdf

Maine: Raw Milk Bill Dies

May 16, 2014 by Real Raw Milk Facts

Policy Watch: Raw milk bill dies
But expect its resurrection soon.

By Mary Pols .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Writer

The latest attempt at legislating unregulated raw milk and milk product sales died in the Maine Senate in April, but the issue itself lives on and will for the forseeable future.

This is one of those Hungry Goldilocks dilemmas – the bill, as put forward by Rep. William Noon, D-Sanford, and amended (and again and again in committee), was too liberal for some, too conservative for others, and ultimately not quite right for the majority. And this week, on Tuesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court will hear oral arguments on the case of Dan Brown, a Blue Hill farmer and food sovereignty supporter who was shut down by the state and still disputes whether his raw milk should have been subject to any regulation.

The issue is not about whether the Maine consumer with a craving for the high-fat, unpasteurized product can obtain raw milk or cheese made from it. That is, relatively speaking, easy. Ten states allow the retail sale of raw milk, Maine among them. (It’s flat-out illegal in 10 states; the others have various, more restrictive permutations allowing sales or turning a legislative blind eye.) I can get raw milk at my favorite farm or my farmers market, where a gallon costs about $8. It might feel like contraband, but it’s not.

But here is the catch, a provision that is good or bad depending on your viewpoint about the safety of raw milk. The raw milk I buy comes from producers who have paid to be licensed and who can, at any time, be visited by a state inspector. It’s a cheap license, but some dairy farmers object to it; they say implementing its provisions is prohibitive.

Noon’s bill attempted to set guidelines for exemptions to the current licensing arrangement. He himself is a licensed producer of raw milk, so he is sympathetic to producers’ needs. He thought he’d tailored the bill for swift passage, working with the Department of Agriculture and writing it with Gov. Paul LePage in mind. Last year LePage vetoed a similar bill that would have allowed unlicensed sales at farms and farmers’ markets, saying he wasn’t comfortable with the farmers’ market piece of it.

Read the whole story:

CDC: Ongoing Public Health Hazard of Consuming Raw Milk

May 11, 2014 by Real Raw Milk Facts

The Marler Blog received an advanced copy of a letter to State and Territorial Epidemiologists and to State Public Health Veterinarians from CDC’s Dr. Robert Tauxe regarding raw milk dangers. The letter includes updated statistics of reported raw milk related foodborne disease outbreaks and illnesses from 2007-2012.

Read the whole story below:

Dr. Rob Takes On Raw Milk


It is good to see a leader in public health taking a stand for public health.

Robert V. Tauxe, MD, MPH, Deputy Director, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote the following letter to State and Territorial Epidemiologists and to State Public Health Veterinarians today.  I was pleased to get an advanced copy.

The role of raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products in the transmission of infectious diseases is well documented.  Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to a high enough temperature for a long enough time to kill disease-causing bacteria.  Raw milk was recognized as a source of severe infections over 100 years ago, and pasteurization of milk to prevent these infections is one of the public health triumphs of the 20th century.  Pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157, Campylobacter jejuni, and Salmonella can contaminate milk during the milking process because they are shed in the feces of healthy-looking dairy animals, including cows and goats.  Infection with these pathogens can cause severe, long-term consequences, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can result in kidney failure, and Guillan-Barré syndrome, which can result in paralysis.  These infections are particularly serious in those who are very young, very old, or who have impaired immune systems.  They can be fatal.

Adherence to good hygienic practices during milking can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of milk contamination.  Pasteurization is the only way to ensure that fluid milk products do not contain harmful bacteria.  Routine pasteurization of milk from healthy cows in a hygienic setting began in the 1920s and became widespread in the United States by 1950 as a means to reduce contamination and resulting illness.  This led to dramatic reductions in many diseases previously associated with milk.  Pasteurization is recommended for all animal milk consumed by humans by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Association of Public Health Veterinarians, and many other medical and scientific organizations.

In 1987, the FDA prohibited the distribution of raw milk across state lines for direct sale to consumers.  Despite the federal ban on interstate sale of raw milk and broad use of pasteurization by the dairy industry, human illness and outbreaks associated with consumption of unpasteurized products continue to occur.  Raw milk is still available for sale in many states, and CDC data shows that the rate of raw milk-associated outbreaks is 2.2 times higher in states in which the sale of raw milk is legal compared with states where sale of raw milk is illegal.

From 2007 to 2012, the CDC National Outbreak Reporting System received reports indicating:

-81 outbreaks of infections due to consumption of raw milk resulting in 979 illnesses, 73 hospitalizations, and no deaths.

-Most infections were caused by Campylobacter, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, or Salmonella bacteria, pathogens that are carried by cattle that appear healthy.

-The number of outbreaks increased during this time, from 30 in the three year span 2007–2009 to 51 in 2010–2012.

-Eighty-one percent of outbreaks were reported from states where the sale of raw milk was legal in some form; only 19% occurred in states where the sale of raw milk was illegal.

-The reported outbreaks represent only the tip of the iceberg.  For every outbreak and illness that is reported, many others occur that are not reported; the actual number of illnesses associated with raw milk and raw milk products is likely much greater.

-It is important to note that a substantial proportion of the raw milk-associated disease burden falls on children; 59 % of outbreaks involved at least one person aged <5 years.

To protect the health of the public, state regulators should continue to support pasteurization and consider further restricting or prohibiting the sale and distribution of raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products in their states.

CDC has a recently updated raw milk website that contains useful information and materials, including a list of relevant publications and other scientific resources on illnesses associated with raw milk consumption reproduced in the attachment.  The website is:  This information can be shared with persons involved in foodborne disease outbreak investigations and the regulation of unpasteurized dairy products.

Raw Milk Sample from NY Farm Tests Positive for Listeria

May 11, 2014 by Real Raw Milk Facts

The New York Department of Agriculture & Markets announced Tuesday that a sample of raw milk collected April 28 from a Pine Bush farm had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Further testing on May 5 confirmed the presence of the bacteria.

State officials subsequently warned Orange County consumers and others in the area not to consume unpasteurized milk from the Stap Farm.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with consuming the milk, officials noted. However, the farm cannot sell any more product until it it receives state clearance to do so.

Bob Stap reportedly told a local newspaper that only one milk sample of five tested from his 100-cow farm showed the presence of Listeria. The Staps got into the raw-milk market about two years ago after 30 years of other types of farming, but he said that it only makes up about 1 percent of their total sales.

New York has about 43 farms that sell raw milk. The state requires licensed raw milk farms to be regularly tested and they may only sell the milk on the farm, not at retail or at farmers markets.

Read the whole story:

Updated Outbreak Tables

Apr 30, 2014 by Real Raw Milk Facts

These charts and tables were compiled by the Real Raw Milk Facts working group through searches of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent ion’s (CDC) online foodborne disease outbreak database (1998-2010). Because the CDC database has about a two-year lag period, preliminary data was gathered from government and dairy industry press releases, reports, and newsletters to document recent outbreaks (2011-present). Information on farm type and size was taken from the implicated dairy’s website, state reports, and articles when available.



Stay tuned for the addition of 2011 CDC NORS data recently made available online.

Pennsylvania Agriculture Department Warns Consumers to Discard Raw Milk from Snyder County Dairy Re

Apr 18, 2014 by Real Raw Milk Facts

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/—Consumers who purchased raw milk from Greenfield Dairy, 1450 Tittle Road, Middleburg, should discard it immediately due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today said raw milk collected during required routine sampling by a commercial laboratory on April 8 tested positive for the bacteria.

Greenfield Dairy owned by Paul Weaver, sells directly to consumers at an on-farm retail store. The packaged raw milk is sold under the Greenfield Dairy label in half gallon glass containers dated April 18, 21, 22 and 24. It is labeled as “raw milk.”

Agriculture officials have ordered the owner of the dairy to stop the sale of all raw milk until further notice. Two samples taken at least 24 hours apart must test negative before the farm can resume raw milk sales.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized.

Pennsylvania law allows farms to sell raw milk but requires the farms to be permitted and inspected by the agriculture department to reduce health risks associated with unpasteurized products. There are 175 farms in Pennsylvania permitted to sell raw milk or raw milk cheese.

Symptoms of Listeriosis usually appear within 1-3 weeks, but can be as short as 3 days or as long as 70 days after consumption and include fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. If the infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions can occur.

Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness, but infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth.

To date, the Pennsylvania Health Department is not aware of any illnesses related to these products. Any person who consumed raw milk from Greenfield Dairy and has symptoms should consult their physician, visit their local state health center or call 877-PA HEALTH (724-3258). 

For more information about Listeriosis, visit

Media contacts:
Samantha Elliott Krepps, 717-787-5085
Holli Senior, Department of Health, 717-787-1783      

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Read more:

Search the Foodborne Illness Database

Real Life Dangers of
Raw Milk

Several families offered to share their stories on video to help raise awareness about the potential risks and negative effects on health from drinking contaminated raw milk.