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

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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.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

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