The Billy Goat Dairy in Longmont, Colorado has been ordered to stop distributing raw milk products after 16 people became ill after drinking the milk, including 2 children who were hospitalized. Of the people who reported becoming ill from consuming the milk products, lab tests confirmed the presence of Campylobacter and E. coli O157, the Boulder County Health Department announced today. Both types of bacteria are found in the intestines of animals and can be passed in their feces to food, water, and milk products that haven’t been pasteurized.
The Billy Goat Dairy operates a goat share program in which individuals buy a share of a goat and in return receive raw, unpasteurized milk. Health officials are contacting every household who participates in the goat share operation to determine if they became sick and to collect samples. This is a method of legal maneuvering that is intended to help farmers avoid the requirements and restrictions associated with licensure and the "sale" of raw milk specifically.
"We strongly advise residents to avoid consuming any raw milk or milk products," said Murielle Romine with the health department. "It can be extremely dangerous, particularly for young children and people with weakened immune systems."