American Academy of Pediatrics warns against consuming raw milk

December 17th, 2013 Other News

WASHINGTON — In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises pregnant women, infants and children to consume only pasteurized milk, cheese and other milk products, and supports a ban on the sale of raw milk in the U.S.

The policy statement, “Consumption of Raw or Unpasteurized Milk and Milk Products by Pregnant Women and Children,” reviews evidence of the risks of consuming unpasteurized milk and milk products in the U.S., especially among pregnant women, infants, and children.

“Given the progress we have made in prevention, there is no reason to risk consuming raw milk in this day and age,” said Jatinder Bhatia, MD, a co-author of the policy statement. “Consumption of raw milk products is especially risky for pregnant women, infants, immunocompromised individuals, and the elderly, and the evidence overwhelmingly establishes the benefits of pasteurization on food safety.”

Limiting the sale

Efforts to limit the sale of raw milk products have been opposed by people who claim there are health benefits from natural factors in milk that are inactivated by pasteurization.

However, the benefits of these natural elements have not been clearly demonstrated in scientific research. Numerous data show pasteurized milk provides the same nutritional benefits as raw milk, without the risk of deadly infections including Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Brucella and E. coli.

Related: Ag officials, county health department, urge residents to discard raw milk

“Consumption of raw milk or milk products can result in severe and life-threatening illnesses such as miscarriage and stillbirths in pregnant women, and meningitis and blood-borne infections in both young infants and pregnant women,” said Yvonne Maldonado, MD, the lead author of the policy statement. “

Today, an estimated 1 percent to 3 percent of all dairy products consumed in the U.S. are not pasteurized.

Raw milk in the U.S.

From 1998 to 2009, consumption of raw milk products in the U.S. resulted in 1,837 illnesses, 195 hospitalizations, 93 illness outbreaks, and two deaths. The risks involved with infections due to consuming raw milk are particularly high for pregnant women and their fetuses, as well as for young children.

“Raw milk poses a significant health risk, since the process of obtaining fresh milk from cows and goats can be fraught with risks of contamination both while milking the animals and during storage,” said Mary Glodé, MD, a co-author of the policy statement. “Pasteurized milk and milk products are extraordinarily healthy, nutritious and safe for children. We are fortunate to have pasteurized products easily available for our entire population.”

The AAP supports the position of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other national and international associations in endorsing the consumption of only pasteurized milk and milk products for pregnant women, infants, and children.

The AAP also endorses a ban on the sale of raw or unpasteurized milk or milk products in the U.S., including certain raw milk cheeses. Pediatricians are encouraged to advocate for more restrictive laws regarding the sale and distribution of raw milk and raw dairy products.

Ag officials, county health department urge residents to discard raw milk

August 9th, 2013 Other News

(This story was updated Aug. 9 at 11 a.m.)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Consumers and retailers who purchased raw milk from Green Acres Jersey Farm, 725 Prescott Road, Lebanon, should discard it immediately due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination found in a recent sample collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Tests

The raw milk sample was collected from the farm during required routine sampling by a commercial laboratory July 29, and later tested positive for the bacteria.

Green Acres Jersey Farm, owned by Jonathan Smoker, sells directly to consumers and in an on-farm retail store. The packaged raw milk is sold under the Green Acres Jersey Farm label in plastic gallon and half gallon containers, labeled as “raw milk.”

Agriculture officials have ordered the owner of the farm 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.

Regulations

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 160 farms in Pennsylvania permitted to sell raw milk or raw milk cheese.

Symptoms of Listeriosis usually appear within 1-3 weeks, but may appear after as little as 3 days or as long as 70 days after consumption. Symptoms 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 a product from Green Acres Jersey Farm and has symptoms should consult their physician, visit their local state health center or call 877-724-3258. For more information about Listeriosis, visit www.health.state.pa.us.

Also, the Allegheny County Health Department is advising local residents to discard raw milk produced by “Your Family Farmer” in Chambersburg, Franklin County, and sold under the label “The Family Cow,” because of potential bacterial contamination.

The Family Cow, owned and operated by Edwin Shank, sells directly to consumers in an on-farm retail store and at drop off locations and retail stores around Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley, as well as south-central Pennsylvania.

Locations

The product is sold at seven locations in Allegheny County: Eichner’s Family Farm in Wexford; East End Food Co-op in Point Breeze; and directly to consumers at five drop-off points throughout Allegheny County.

The drop-off points are in Ross, McKnight Road, parking lot beside Jo Ann Fabrics; Bethel Park, parking lot behind Tony’s Auto Center and South Hills Church of Nazarene; Swissvale, Getz Memorial Park; Green Tree, parking lot of Beth El Congregation; and at Pittsburgh Mills, Wal-Mart parking lot.

Cases

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has confirmed two cases of Campylobacter infection in people who consumed the raw milk. Based on a consumer complaint, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture collected raw milk July 29 from “Your Family Farmer” Dairy and positive test results for Campylobacter were confirmed Aug. 5.

Symptoms

People who consumed raw milk and have prolonged diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain should contact their health care provider for testing and possible treatment. There have been no recently confirmed Campylobacter cases in Allegheny County thus far.

Earlier this May five people consumed unpasteurized milk from Your Family Farmer and suffered illnesses confirmed to be related to Campylobacter. The dairy has ceased production until further notice.

CDC says majority of dairy-related disease outbreaks linked to raw milk

March 28th, 2012 Other News

WASHINGTON — The rate of outbreaks caused by unpasteurized milk (often called raw milk) and products made from it was 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 13-year review also revealed the states where the sale of raw milk was legal had more than twice the rate of outbreaks as states where it was illegal.

Details

The study reviewed dairy product outbreaks from 1993 to 2006 in all 50 states. The authors compared the amount of milk produced in the U.S. during the study period (about 2.7 trillion pounds) to the amount that CDC estimates was likely consumed raw (1 percent or 27 billion pounds) to determine the 150 times higher rate for outbreaks caused by raw milk products.

Raw milk products include cheese and yogurt.

The study included 121 dairy related disease outbreaks, which caused 4,413 illnesses, 239 hospitalizations and three deaths.

In 60 percent of the outbreaks (73 outbreaks) state health officials determined raw milk products were the cause. Nearly all of the hospitalizations (200 of 239) were in those sickened in the raw milk outbreaks.

These dairy-related outbreaks occurred in 30 states, and 75 percent (55 outbreaks) of the raw milk outbreaks occurred in the 21 states where it was legal to sell raw milk products at the time.

Laws

The study also reported that seven states changed their laws during the study period.

Consumers can’t tell if raw milk is safe to drink by looking at, smelling or tasting it. Even under ideal conditions of cleanliness, collecting milk introduces some bacteria. Unless the milk is pasteurized, these bacteria can multiply and grow in the milk and cause illness.

Pasteurization involves heating milk to kill disease-causing bacteria. This study shows an association between state laws and the number of outbreaks and illnesses from raw milk products, said Robert Tauxe, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases.

Restricting the sale of raw milk products is likely to reduce the number of outbreaks and can help keep people healthier.

Young milk drinkers

The study also found that the raw milk product outbreaks led to much more severe illnesses, and disproportionately affected people under age 20.

In the raw milk outbreaks with known age breakdowns, 60 percent of patients were younger than age 20, compared to 23 percent in outbreaks from pasteurized products. Children are more likely than adults to get seriously ill from the bacteria in raw milk.

While some people think that raw milk has more health benefits than pasteurized milk, this study shows that raw milk has great risks, especially for children, who experience more severe illnesses if they get sick, said study co-author Barbara Mahon, deputy chief of CDC s DFWED Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch.

Additionally

Among other key findings: Thirteen percent of patients in raw milk outbreaks were hospitalized compared to 1 percent in pasteurized milk outbreaks. This may be because raw milk outbreaks were all caused by bacteria, such as E. coli O157, which tend to produce more severe illnesses, according to the study.

Pasteurized milk and cheese outbreaks were often caused by relatively mild infections like norovirus and Staphylococcus aureus.

To view the study, visit www.cdc.gov/eid. For more information about raw milk, visit www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-index.html.

Raw milk: Both sides of the issue need to be addressed

February 28th, 2012 Other News

Editor:

I would like to discuss some of the remarks made by Mr. Scott Shalaway. A while back he wrote in the Farm and Dairy that people should pen their cats up. Well the farmer’s barn cats roam at will and kill birds now and then but it keeps the mice and rats out of the barn. The rats and mice, if not kept under control, can destroy a lot of the farmer’s feed for their livestock.

What really upset me was a remark that Shalaway made on the radio on Feb. 14. He was trashing the dairy farmers who sell raw milk. The dairy farmer was on the radio show before Shalaway and I am sure he knows more about raw milk than Shalaway does. The farmer knows a lot about nutrition, plus the farmer knows how to milk a cow, and I’ll bet Shalaway does not.

Milk has to be kept clean and the milk needs to be cooled as soon as possible after it is taken from the cow. I have drank raw milk all of my l life and I am close to 80 years of age. I can remember when they sold raw milk in Centerville (a town close to where I live) but I never heard of anyone getting sick from the milk.

Milk that is not properly taken care of will make you sick. Two percent milk at our senior center does not even taste near as good as raw milk. I feel everyone has a right to their opinion but if you are going to talk about a subject such as this one, both sides of the subject matter should be addressed.

J. M. Corbett

Belmont, Ohio

Survey finds five states have adopted stricter regulations on sale of raw milk

August 29th, 2011 Other News

WASHINGTON — The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture has released updated results from a raw milk survey. NASDA conducted a raw milk survey, in cooperation with the National Association of Dairy Regulatory Officials, to gather current information about the regulation and sale of raw milk in the U.S.

Definition

Raw milk is defined as milk that has not been pasteurized. The Center for Disease Control strongly discourages consumption of raw milk as pathogens from raw milk can result in kidney failure, paralysis and fatality, in some cases.

This survey is NASDA’s third collection of data since 2004. In 2008, 50 states participated in the survey and 30 states allowed raw milk sales. NASDA’s new data reflects no change in the number of states permitting unpasteurized milk sales both on the farm and in retail markets.

The 2011 data shows the same 30 states allowing raw milk sales. Likewise, the same 20 states still prohibit the sale of raw milk to consumers. Five states have adopted stricter quality standards to regulate the sale of raw milk since the 2008 survey.

Of the 30 states where raw milk sales are allowed in some form, 13 states restrict legal sales to occur only on the farm where the milk is produced. The survey shows that 12 other states allow the sale of raw milk at retail stores separate from the farm. The remaining five states restrict the availability of raw milk to special markets or have compound regulations.

NASDA represents the commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the state departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four territories. The information for this survey was received from the NADRO members in each state.

Results

Of the 50 respondents, 30 states authorize the legal sale of raw milk, in some specified manner, for direct human consumption. The remaining 20 states prohibit the sale of raw milk to consumers. The following data represents the 30 states that allow raw milk sales in some form.

Sales of raw milk restricted to the farm:

• Thirteen states restrict legal sales to occur only on the farm where the milk is produced (AR, IL, KS, KY, MA, MN, MS, NE, NY, OK, RI, TX, WI).

• Four of these states (MN, WI, OK, IL) further restrict sales to only incidental occurrences (i.e., occasional; not as regular course of business; no advertising.)

• Kansas allows sales directly to the consumer on the farm with minimal on-farm advertising.

• Four states (AR, KY, MS, RI) restrict sales to goat milk only, with two states (KY, RI) also requiring a prescription from a physician.

• Five states have a coliform standard for milk sold only on-farm (ID, MA, NY, OR, TX).

Sales of raw milk at retail stores separate from farm:

• 12 states allow the sale of raw milk at retail stores separate from the farm (AZ, CA, CT, ID, ME, NH, NM, NV, PA, SC, UT, WA).

• One of the 12 (UT), requires the store to be owned by the producer, even though it can be located off of the farm.

• Another state (SC) allows the sale of raw milk both on and off the farm and at farmers markets if a permit is obtained. Further, farmers must provide retail stores with a warning plaque to be displayed in front of the raw milk.

• Of these 12 states, all 12 have a total coliform standard.

• Nine states have a coliform standard of < 10/mL (AZ, CA, ME, NH, NV, PA, SC, UT, WA).

• One state has a coliform standard of < 25/mL (ID)

• Two states have a coliform standard of < 50/mL (CT, NM)

• Sales of raw milk at farmers markets and states with compound regulations:

• Five states have unique regulations that do not fit in either of the categories above (CO, MO, OH, SD, VT).

• One state (OR) allows on-farm sales of raw cow’s milk only from farms with no more than two producing cows, nine producing sheep and/or nine producing goats; Only goat milk is allowed at retail off farm.

• Of the five states, one state (CO) prohibits all sales of raw milk; however, raw milk may be legally obtained through “share” operations.

• Another state (VT), authorize share operations if share owners claim on their taxes the percentage of the farm that they own. Limited amounts of raw milk may be sold at farms.

• Three states (SD, MO, VT) allow farmers to deliver to farmers’ market but not to stores.

• Of these five states, four have minimum standard requirements (MO, OR, SD, VT).

• One state has a coliform standard of < 10/mL (VT, OR).

• One state has a coliform standard of < 100/mL (MO).

• One state requires the same standards for raw milk as pasteurized milk (SD).

The sale of raw milk is prohibited in 20 States: (AL, AK, DE, FL, GA, HI, IN, IA, LA, MD, MI, MT, NJ, NC, ND, OH, TN, VA, WV, WY.)

FDA seeks injunction against Pa. dairy for producing raw milk

May 3rd, 2011 Other News

SILVER SPRING, Md., — The U.S. Justice Department, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has filed a complaint for permanent injunction against Daniel L. Allgyer, owner of the Rainbow Acres Farm, in Kinzers, Pa., for distributing unpasteurized, or raw, milk for human consumption in interstate commerce.

Complaint

The complaint, filed April 19 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, also alleges that Allgyer violated federal law by misbranding the “raw” milk containers by failing to provide the label information required by law.

Defendant Allgyer was served with the complaint April 26.

Previous warnings

“Drinking raw milk is dangerous and shouldn’t be consumed under any circumstances,” said Dara A. Corrigan, FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “FDA has warned the defendant on multiple occasions that introducing raw milk into interstate commerce is in violation of federal law.”

Production

FDA investigators determined during an inspection of Rainbow Acres Farm that the farm was producing, packaging, selling, and distributing unpasteurized and unlabeled milk for human consumption in interstate commerce.

The FDA issued a warning letter to Allgyer on April 20, 2010, informing him of the violations and stating that regulatory action might be taken. The farm has continued to operate in violation of federal law.

If the court grants an injunction, Allgyer may be prohibited from distributing unpasteurized milk and milk products for human consumption in interstate commerce.

International Raw Milk Symposium May 7 in Minnesota

April 18th, 2011 Other News

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — The increase in raw milk consumption — according to Center for Disease Control statistics, at least 10 million Americans now consume raw milk — has created innovative partnerships between consumers and their farmers.

By accepting responsibility in their food choices, Americans are paving the way to the next phase of the U.S. local food movement: Partnership with producers to ensure we have a way of providing raw milk and other healthy foods that our families require for good health.

Symposium

The Farm-to-Consumer Foundation and the Foundation for Consumer Free Choice will co-host the Third Annual Raw Milk Symposium: Producer-Consumer-Choice in Bloomington, Minn.

The event will be held May 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Bloomington. It is open to the public.

Register

Interested parties may register online or by telephone. Visit the http://www.RawMilkSymposium.org/ website to register.

The cost is $40 to attend the symposium (no meals included, 8 and younger are free). A lunch ticket is available for $25, and the Fundraiser Reception and Dinner is $100.

To register by phone, call 703-208-3276.

Wisconsin Governor says no to raw milk sales

May 20th, 2010 Chris Kick

MADISON, Wis. — Citing the interest of public health and the safety of his state’s dairy industry, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed a senate bill on May 19, that would have allowed for direct farmer-to-consumer sales of raw milk.

“I recognize that there are strong feelings on both sides of this matter, but on balance, I must side with the interests of public health and the safety of the dairy industry,” Doyle said in a released statement. “I am listening to the unanimous voice of public health professionals, including leading doctors at the Marshfield Clinic and Gundersen Lutheran Health System who have found the sale of raw milk to have potentially harmful health effects.”

The legislation — known as Senate Bill 434 — would have authorized a dairy farmer with a grade A dairy farm permit to sell unpasteurized milk, buttermilk, butter, and cream directly to consumers on the farm, provided the farmer obtained a raw milk permit from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Requirements

The bill required farmers to prepare and fill containers in a sanitary manner, and display a sign indicating that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization. The bill also excluded dairymen for liability in selling raw milk products, provided they did not omit any of the required information.

The governor’s veto was well received by National Milk Producers Federation, which called the decision “a commitment to health and safety.”

In a released statement, Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of NMPF, commended the governor for protecting public health.

“Many other state dairy organizations in Wisconsin, along with the health professional community, made a major effort in the past week to provide some badly-needed perspective on the potentially deadly consequences if the state were to have passed this bill,” he said.

Other states

Federal law prohibits interstate sales of raw milk, but allows states individual discretion for regulating raw milk within their borders. Raw milk — milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized, is reported to be prohibited in 23 states.

The debate over raw milk has become a national issue, with states adopting many different policies. Currently, Pennsylvania leads the nation in dairies licensed to sell raw milk. Sales are illegal in Ohio.

Proponents of raw milk claim that pasteurization — the process of heating milk to destroy bacteria and extend shelf life — destroys important nutrients and enzymes.

Misinformation abounds: Raw milk debate continues to churn

May 10th, 2010 Other News

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As the debate about the health attributes and risks of raw milk spills into capitols and courts across the country, a food safety expert in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences is urging people to think carefully about the risks before consuming unpasteurized dairy products. Read the rest of this entry »

Pa. Dept. of Ag suspends raw milk permit held by Lawrence Co. dairy

April 27th, 2010 Kristy Foster Seachrist

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — A Mars, Pa. man remains hospitalized after reportedly ingesting raw milk containing the bacteria, Campylobacter, from Pasture Maid Creamery in New Castle, Pa.

Illness sets in. James Orchard, 67, started out with symptoms March 19 and by April 2, he was not able to walk, according to his wife, Maureen Orchard.

Orchard remains hospitalized at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center but is expected to slowly to recover.

Campylobacter is a bacterial infection that affects the intestinal tract and can sometimes enter the bloodstream and other organs. It is one of the more common causes of gastroenteritis, which results in diarrhea and vomiting. In some instances the diarrhea can be bloody. A known complication of Campylobacter infection includes Guillain-Barre syndrome disorder of the nervous system.

Orchard’s wife Maureen said he is suspected of having Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Orchard, his wife and their daughter reportedly all experienced symptoms related to the bacteria and soon began to suspect the raw milk.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized.

Suspension. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced April 8 that the permit for Pasture Maid Creamery in Lawrence County to sell raw milk was suspended April 5 after testing found Campylobacter in raw milk samples.

The Farm and Dairy made attempts to reach Adam Dean, owner and operator of Pasture Maid Creamery but the phone calls were not returned.

Suspension. Justin Fleming, spokesman for the Pa. Department of Agriculture, said the permit is suspended indefinitely.

In order for the permit to be reinstated, several samples will have to be taken and test negative for the bacteria.

Dairies with permits for raw milk must undergo pathogen testing one time a year.

Past history. Pasture Maid Creamery, LLC. has a previous record of dealing with Campylobacter. In February, 2009, a total of six confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection were traced back to raw milk produced by Pasture Maid Creamery, according to the Pa. Department of Agriculture.

At that time, the Pa. Department of Health recommended the owner stop selling raw milk for human consumption and the owner agreed to stop selling.

Fleming said the best way for dairies to prevent bacteria from entering the milk supply is sanitation, no matter what type of milk is being produced.

Wisconsin. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed legislation allowing regulated on-farm sales of unpasteurized milk to consumers.

The bill includes safety provisions, such as requiring sellers to be grade-A certified and to test the milk for pathogens. The bill also limits raw milk sales and advertising to the farms where the animals live.

The legislation will automatically end in 2011, unless the state legislature takes additional action.

It would become law after being signed by Gov. Jim Doyle.

Tests find bacteria in dairy’s raw milk

April 9th, 2010 Other News

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pa. Department of Agriculture has suspended the permit for Pasture Maid Creamery in New Castle, Pa., Lawrence County, to sell raw milk for human consumption.

The permit was suspended April 5 after testing found campylobacter in its raw milk samples.

The Department of Health recently received new reports of consumers who became ill after drinking raw milk from Pasture Maid Creamery, owned and operated by Adam Dean.

What to do

Anyone who bought raw milk from that farm is urged to discard it immediately and contact their health care provider if they become sick.

Additional samples of milk collected from the farm March 26 were confirmed by the Department of Agriculture laboratory to contain Campylobacter. These are the latest samples from the farm found to contain this organism, which can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting.

Pasture Maid Creamery sells raw milk directly to consumers who sometimes provide their own bottles. The business is not related to Dean’s Dairy in Sharpsville, Mercer County, which produces pasteurized milk for sale in supermarkets.

Symptoms

Onset of illness usually occurs two to five days after exposure, but can be longer. Any person who consumed the raw milk and has symptoms of diarrhea should contact their health care provider to assure appropriate specimens are collected and treatment is administered, as campylobacter can be treated with antibiotics.

Ill individuals can also contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 877-PA-HEALTH.

Information on campylobacter is available on the department’s Web site at www.health.state.pa.us.

NMPF pushing for raw milk regs

November 16th, 2009 Other News

WASHINGTON — Facilities producing unpasteurized, or raw, milk products are not covered by any of the food safety regulations proposed so far this year by Congress.

The International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation have asked senators planning to mark up key food safety legislation to close this omission.

Currently exempt

Sites that produce raw milk products also remain exempt from existing regulations enforced by all states, which are known as the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO), that set the standard for maintaining the safety of the nation’s milk and milk product supply.

Cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that have been aged to eliminate the risk of food borne illnesses are not considered raw milk products.

Call for registration

In a letter to Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., the committee’s ranking member, the dairy groups called for requiring all facilities producing raw or unpasteurized milk products for direct human consumption to register with FDA and adhere to food safety requirements that are followed by all other facilities producing milk products.

“It is important to the health of the American public, and for the continued confidence in the dairy industry, that the new food safety legislation bolsters the success of the PMO program and applies any new FDA requirements to raw milk and raw dairy products,” said IDFA CEO Connie Tipton and NMPF CEO Jerry Kozak in the letter.

The Pasteurized Milk Ordinance covers all aspects of hazard analysis, planning and monitoring from farm to plant to delivery of finished milk products to retail outlets. These requirements are updated every two years through a coordinated program between FDA and state regulatory departments.

Also on their list

In addition, the dairy groups would like the bill to recognize that state inspections of dairy facilities under the PMO already meets necessary food safety requirements and no duplicate functions are warranted.

Because facilities following the PMO already pay fees for state licensing and inspections, International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation recommend that these state fees be credited against any new FDA registration fees if such fees are added to the food safety bill.

Raw milk blamed for infection in Wisconsin

August 31st, 2009 Other News

MADISON, Wis. — Thirteen confirmed cases of illness in southeastern Wisconsin have been linked to consumption of unpasteurized milk, public health officials said, and they cautioned residents to discard any unpasteurized milk they have in their homes.

Tested positive

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said individuals have tested positive for campylobacter jejuni, a bacterial infection that causes gastro-intestinal symptoms and fever and that occasionally leads to severe complications.

There are other people in the same households who are ill, but those test results are not yet available, officials said. The onset of illness was Aug. 14-20.

Raw milk

All victims had consumed raw milk or been in households where someone else consumed raw milk and became ill. Campylobacter can be passed between people as well as being contracted directly from contaminated food.

Campylobacter jejuni bacteria cause nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever and vomiting. Rarely, it can lead to temporary arthritis or paralysis, generally after the initial symptoms have disappeared.

Anyone who has these symptoms and has recently consumed unpasteurized milk or dairy products should contact their doctor.

Prevention

To prevent spreading Campylobacter bacteria, follow proper hand-washing procedures and wash down bathroom and kitchen surfaces with an antibacterial agent.

Selling or distributing raw milk and raw milk products is illegal in Wisconsin.

Raw milk survey provides new facts

April 23rd, 2008 Farm and Dairy Staff

WASHINGTON — The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture has released updated results from a 50-state raw milk survey.

In 2004, the Dairy Division of the association conducted a raw milk survey to gather information about the regulation and sale of raw milk in the United States.

The food regulation and nutrition committee recently requested that the 2004 survey be updated.

Questionnaire

A short questionnaire was sent to state regulatory milk program directors and/or managers in all 50 states in January 2008. Of the 50 states surveyed, 29 states authorize the legal sale of raw milk, in some specified manner, for direct human consumption.

The remaining 21 states prohibit the sale of raw milk to consumers.

Of the 29 states where raw milk sales are allowed in some form, 17 states restrict legal sales to occur only on the farm where the milk is produced. The survey shows that 13 states allow the sale of raw milk at retail stores separate from the farm.

Raw milk cheese recalled for staph

February 7th, 2008 Farm and Dairy Staff

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Board of Animal Health’s Dairy Division revealed high levels of staphylococcus aureus (or “staph”) in several raw milk cheeses manufactured by Grassy Meadows Dairy of Howe, Ind.

Because of the facility’s location, consumers in Ohio and Michigan, as well as Indiana, should also check their refrigerators for these items.

Products

Products of concern include, but are not limited to, Colby (lot no. 210317 and 19177); Jalapeno natural cheese (lot no. 2617, 21017 and 11017); “Homemade” cheese (lot no. 19267 and 19227); Monterey Jack (lot no. 18207 and 2937); and garlic pepper cheese (lot no. 19147).

All are sold in wedges or blocks of various weights.

Due to the nature of the manufacturing process for raw milk cheese, the Board of Animal Health advises consumers not to eat any cheese from this facility purchased prior to Jan. 30.

According to Terry Philibeck, director of Board of Animal Health Dairy Divison, the agency has not yet been able to identify when the staph contamination began. Cheese purchased prior to January may be contaminated.

Grassy Meadows products were sold directly to consumers from the dairy farm, located in LaGrange County, Ind., as well as more than a dozen retail health food stores in Northeastern/Fort Wayne Indiana region.

No illnesses

No consumer illness or complaints have been reported.

Consumers should return products to their place of purchase.

Ohio Farm Bureau debates raw milk position

December 6th, 2007 Andrea Zippay

SALEM, Ohio – “We oppose the sale of raw milk direct to consumers.”
Well, sort of. And then again, not really.
More than 300 farmer-members voted last week to strike that language from Ohio Farm Bureau legislative policy, but then introduced new policy that strengthens the organization’s stance on the issue to take food safety into consideration.
No, and then yes. Cheers and applause rippled across the Ohio Farm Bureau delegate body last week when 300-plus farmer-members voted to delete the statement from state policy and turn support for raw milk sales 180 degrees from the controversial policy set last year.
But it wasn’t a clear-cut decision. A voice vote, typically used by delegates to direct state policy, had the yeas and nays sounding almost even. Delegates resorted to electronic handheld voting devices, and even then, the vote was 50/50. But pure numbers won the vote, 158-155.
Arguments. Thomas Marshall, a delegate from Preble County, where the idea to strike the opposition from state policy originated, said he felt the Farm Bureau should take a more neutral stance on the issue.
He also said the Farm Bureau should take a step back and look at its entire policy, which supports niche markets for agricultural products.
“With this statement, you’re very contradictory in your policy book. We feel raw milk is a niche market,” he said.
“It’s wrong to oppose the opportunity to market [a product] and you shouldn’t penalize hardworking people for trying,” he said.
Others, like Wayne County’s Will Moore, thought the old policy was “sound” and that the Farm Bureau should “stick with it.”
“We’ve all seen this issue debated over the years. There’s no reason to change it now,” he said.
The amended wording, which asks for regulations to be set to ensure the highest level of food safety and proposed by Morrow County delegates, passed 258-62.
Not forgotten. The rbST issue also crept onto the delegate floor, but only for a quick appearance.
A new subsection of policy was added prior to the annual meeting, and delegates voted to include wording that would “oppose all use of false and misleading labels, promotional materials and other advertising for food products.”
The delegates also asked to add wording to policy that would let ODA require all food labelers to substantiate their claims through sound scientific testing, and to differentiate between claims and ingredients on a label.
Another section of policy was tacked on to support OFBF intervening if a major retailer attempted to close a market to producers and violated sound science or yielded to special interest.
“We’re willing to fight the fight, but we could use some [of your] help with ideas,” Farm Bureau president Bob Peterson said.
Animal agriculture. Geauga County’s Gerald Mitchell offered a policy to help animal agriculture and farmers under attack by animal rights groups.
Though there was no discussion on the matter, delegates passed the policy to work to “educate legislators on the dire consequences of supporting organizations against animal agriculture whose objectives are abolition of animal agriculture, conversion of the U.S. population to a plant-based diet, and total animal liberation.”
Another policy out of Wayne County supported creating a federal law to “differentiate between livestock and companion animals regarding statutes governing animal cruelty.”
The proposed policy also suggested “livestock producers following recognized best management practices should have protection under animal cruelty laws for those activities.”
Other policy. Delegates voted to reverse the Farm Bureau’s opposition to casino gambling in the state, citing the detrimental effects the policy has on the equine industry.
Lively discussions debated the Farm Bureau’s stance on Ohio’s deer population and ways to control and reduce it to 250,000 head, and on which side of the road is best to situate mail and newspaper boxes to ease equipment and tractor travel.
Other policies included supporting landowner compensation for damages as a result of longwall mining; opposing end dumping as a form of mine reclamation; and changes to the way the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) is applied to unincorporated farms.
Elections. Delegates re-elected Bob Peterson president of the Farm Bureau board. He also was re-elected to represent Clinton, Greene, Fayette and Warren counties.
Brent Porteus of Coshocton was re-elected first vice president, and Steve Hirsch of Chillicothe was re-elected as treasurer.
Hirsch was also re-elected to represent Fairfield, Hocking, Pickaway and Ross counties.
Others re-elected to serve were Kim Davis, Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson and Tuscarawas counties; Ellen Joslin, Auglaize, Logan, Mercer and Shelby counties; Mike Schumm, Allen, Paulding, Putnam and Van Wert counties; Andra Troyer, southwest women’s trustee; and Keith Truckor, Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams counties.
New additions to the board are Craig Adams of Leesburg, to represent Adams, Brown, Clermont and Highland counties; and Paul Harrison of Fostoria to represent Hancock, Hardin, Seneca and Wyandot counties.
(Reporter Andrea Zippay welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419 or by e-mail at azippay@farmanddairy.com.)

New York dairy gets permission to sell raw milk

August 23rd, 2007 Other News

WORCESTER, N.Y. – Autumn Valley Farm has received a clean bill of health from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and will immediately resume on-site raw milk sales to its consumers.
Autumn Valley Farm holds a department permit to legally sell raw milk, and had voluntarily suspended sales after the department’s food laboratory detected the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in a routine sample taken July 16, 2007.
No illnesses were associated with Autumn Valley Farm milk, and suspending sales was strictly a precautionary measure.
Tests. The department’s subsequent testing has not detected any additional pathogens and the farm has been given permission to resume sales.
Autumn Valley Farm reports that an independent laboratory tested raw milk samples taken from the farm’s bulk tank July 23, and as an extra precaution, the laboratory cultured the samples for an additional day beyond the FDA’s requirements.
The independent laboratory detected no viable Listeria cells or other pathogens, and the state’s subsequent test samples were also free of contamination.

Another raw milk warning in Pa.

April 19th, 2007 Other News

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Consumers who have purchased raw milk from Fisher’s Dairy in Butler County, Pa., any time after April 9, 2007, should discard it immediately due to the risk of Listeria monocytogenes contamination.
A preliminary test showed the presence of Listeria bacteria in some of the raw milk samples taken from Fisher’s Dairy during routine inspection, according to Pa. Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff.
If consumers have raw milk from this farm, they should discard it immediately.
There have been no illnesses reported because of the potential contamination, but if individuals who consumed the raw milk become ill, they are advised to consult their physician.
No sales for now. The department of agriculture has suspended sales of raw milk at the dairy. Multiple laboratory samples must come back negative before sales can resume.

Lawmakers take on raw milk battle

April 5th, 2007 Janelle Skrinjar

PETERSBURG, Ohio – Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that could turn the state’s raw milk laws upside down.
If passed, Senate Bill 95 and House Bill 52 would allow Ohio consumers to buy raw milk right from the farm that produced it.
“It’s a good thing because up until two weeks ago, raw milk consumption in Ohio was being done on the sly,” said Don Neeper, communications director for the Raw Milk Organization of Ohio.
Although the Ohio Department of Agriculture recently dropped its case against a Darke County dairy farmer who was providing raw milk through herd share agreements, Neeper said there are no guarantees for farmers who want to provide the product. The legislation would provide “more ammunition and more armor” for those producers, he said.
Opposed. Sen. John Boccieri, D-New Middletown, opposes the legislation because of the health concerns associated with bacteria in the milk.
“The professionals agree that the risks of unpasteurized milk can be harmful, especially relating to salmonella and E. coli bacteria,” he said during a news conference April 2 at Honey Creek Dairy Farm in Petersburg, Ohio.
Dr. John Venglarcik, director of infectious diseases services at Tod’s Children’s Hospital, said the risks of raw milk far outweigh any perceived benefits.
“There are really, literally, two handfuls of bacteria associated with unpasteurized milk,” he said.
Changes. The bills authorize licensed Grade A milk producers to sell raw milk directly to consumers under certain conditions. Both require the Ohio Department of Agriculture to adopt rules governing the production, labeling, inspection and sampling of raw milk, but specify that those rules should be only as strict as federal Grade A pasteurized milk laws.
The bills would also authorize the department to develop regulations for notices warning that raw milk has not been pasteurized and may contain organisms that cause disease.
In addition, it directs the ODA to set procedures and standards for the packaging and storage of raw milk.
Dr. Iram Ahmed, medical director of St. Elizabeth’s Mobil Medical Clinic, said milk should be pasteurized for the sake of children, whose immune systems often can’t fight the bacteria in raw milk.
“We pasteurize for a reason and that reason is the safety of our children,” she said.
Warren Byle, executive director of the Raw Milk Organization of Ohio, said the new legislation will allow raw milk consumption in a safe way. With oversight from the ODA and required testing procedures, the law will “make sure people who are selling this product are selling it in a safe way,” Byle said.
Under review. The Senate legislation was introduced March 6 by Sen. Gary Cates, R-West Chester, and it has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee where testimony is ongoing.
Rep. Arlene Setzer, R-Vandalia, introduced the House legislation Feb. 20. It is being reviewed by the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee.
Gordon Withers of Honey Creek Dairy Farm said liability is the main reason he won’t sell raw milk on his Mahoning County dairy farm.
“You can’t afford to let anybody and his brother come in and buy your raw milk,” he said, citing the legal ramifications that could ensue if someone gets sick from the milk.
Herd shares. Although Boccieri opposes the outright sale of raw milk, he doesn’t see a problem with those who want to enter herd share agreements in order to get the product.
Neeper said herd shares are a good option for raw milk consumers because it allows them to develop close relationships with the farmers.
Messages left for Cates and Setzer were not returned by press time.
(Reporter Janelle Skrinjar welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at jskrinjar@farmanddairy.com.)

Related articles:

Farmer can supply raw milk, March 29, 2007

Judge overturns raw milk verdict, January 11, 2007

Kentucky man guilty in Ohio raw milk sale (11/23/2006)

Dairy farmer can keep milking, October 12, 2006

Ohioan loses milk license October 5, 2006

Amish dairyman banned from selling raw milk again, July 7, 2006

Amish dairyman gets OK to continue farming after raw milk incident, April 27, 2006

Washington farm fined as E. coli source
March 30, 2006

Raw milk fires up industry
March 16, 2006

Raw milk problems on Pa. farms

April 5th, 2007 Other News

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Consumers who purchased raw milk from two Pennsylvania dairies are being warned of potential contamination.
Individuals who bought milk from Charles Bartels in Meshoppen, Wyoming County, any time after March 1 should discard it immediately due to the risk of Listeria monocytogenes contamination.
During routine inspection, a preliminary test showed the presence of Listeria bacteria in some of the raw milk samples taken from the Bartels farm.
No illness. There have been no illnesses reported because of the potential contamination, but if individuals who consumed the raw milk become ill, they are advised to consult a physician.
The department of agriculture has suspended sales of raw milk at the dairy and is ensuring that corrective action is taken. Multiple laboratory samples must come back negative before sales can resume.
York County. Stump Acres Dairy of New Salem, York County, voluntarily stopped raw milk sales March 27 as a precautionary measure after a consumer who drank raw milk purchased from the dairy after March 19 experienced gastrointestinal illness.
In February, raw milk purchased at Stump Acres Dairy was linked to eight cases of infection with salmonella typhimurium and sales were suspended March 2.
On March 19, the dairy resumed raw milk sales following testing, cleaning and additional inspection.
The shelf-life for raw milk is about 14 days but can be longer if the milk is frozen, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Freezing of the milk will not kill the salmonella bacteria.
Individuals who drank raw milk purchased from Stump Acres Dairy and became ill are advised to consult with their physician. If no illness occurred, it is not necessary to seek medical attention.
Onset of illness usually occurs in 24 to 72 hours and patients typically recover in a week or less.