SALEM, Ohio – After a recent salmonella scare, Young’s Jersey Dairy in southern Ohio will no longer sell raw milk.
Young’s was the only farm in the state legally allowed to sell unpasteurized milk.
Ohio Department of Agriculture and Clark County Combined Health District recommended Young’s surrender its raw milk retail license after 55 cases of salmonella were connected to the dairy.
Dan Young, the dairy’s chief executive officer, said another reason they stopped selling the milk is because of insurance coverage concerns.
Human hygiene. Although a batch of milk from late November was originally blamed for the outbreak, it was later determined that it was due to human contamination.
The bacteria did not originate on the farm and is instead believed to have come from Ross or Columbiana counties. Both counties had outbreaks of the same strain of salmonella last year.
The dairy herd tested negative for salmonella, as did the rest of the milk.
Salmonella is a bacteria passed through uncooked meat, unsanitary hygiene, raw eggs and intimate person-to-person contact. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, chills and nausea.
One lawsuit has been filed against the dairy. It involves a 16-month-old who became sick after consuming a dairy product at Young’s.
There have been four other attorney inquiries for medical records, said Charles Patterson, health commissioner in Clark County.
A history. Young’s Jersey Dairy began selling raw milk in the mid-1950s. Although a law later made raw milk sales illegal in Ohio, the dairy fell under the grandfather clause and continued to sell the milk.
Milk sales are only a small part of the Young’s dairy business. Two restaurants, batting cages, a driving range and two miniature golf courses are also part of the operation.
Raw milk accounted for 1 1/2 percent of the operation’s sales, Young said.
The dairy will now replace its raw milk with pasteurized milk.
Controversial. Raw milk has often been the source of controversy. Government officials say milk must be pasteurized, the heating process intended to kill bacteria like salmonella.
Raw milk activists say pasteurization also kills essential vitamins, destroys enzymes and promotes pathogens.
Patterson said he is unsure whether pasteurization would have made a difference in this case. The salmonella may have entered the milk after pasteurization would have taken place.
Cross contamination can take place even in pasteurized milk, he said.
Continuing investigation. The number of salmonella cases stands at 55 and the investigation continues into how the strain got to Young’s.
The main effort is to ensure there aren’t more secondary cases, Patterson said.
“As far as we’re concerned, the outbreak is over, and Young’s restaurant is as safe to eat at as any other in [the area],” Patterson said.
(You can contact Kristy Hebert at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 23, or by e-mail at email@example.com.)
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