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.


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

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.


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.


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 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

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

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