The Boulder County Public Health Department has cleared the Billy Goat Dairy, a Longmont goat dairy that produces and distributes raw milk, to resume business after a recent inspection confirmed that owner Bill Campbell had addressed the County’s concerns and/or suggestions. The dairy was the source of a large E. coli O157:H7 and campylobacter outbreak in June and early July that caused as many as 30 confirmed illnesses. Two children were sickened critically, requiring hospitalization at Children’s Hospital in Aurora.
John Fryar of the Longmont Times reports as follows:
Carol McInnes, an environmental health specialist with the county department, made an on-site visit Wednesday afternoon to verify that Campbell had completed those steps. Campbell “has done everything he needs to do” to meet the county’s conditions for resuming raw-milk distributions, McInnes said, and she reported finding nothing that caused her to think there’d be any “imminent public health threat.”
“He has the go-ahead from us,” she said.
Campbell, however, said Wednesday night that it will probably be next week — possibly Thursday — before he’ll be ready for people to start picking up their raw-milk supplies again from Billy Goat’s dairy herd. “I have some things of my own I want to get done” first, Campbell said, to be able to assure the 45 households having goat-sharing ownership that the milk they’re getting is safe. He said that includes the final results he’s awaiting from tests he commissioned two independent laboratories to analyze, results he said he’ll post and explain to shareholders.
The Billy Goat Dairy distributes milk under a goat-share, or herd-share, agreement between the dairy and customers, or "owners," because the sale of raw milk is illegal in the State of Colorado. Distribution by virtue of these legal fictions–legal fictions, according to some–is permissible, however. Some states have also acted to restrict the distribution of raw milk even through herd-share agreements.