Raw milk from Foundation Farm in Wilsonville, Oregon has sickened at least 11 people with serious E. coli O157:H7 illnesses. Two children have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS. The milk was “sold” as part of a cow or herd-share agreement, which is an attempt to avoid the State of Oregon’s restrictions on the sale of raw milk.
So what of Oregon’s history with E. coli and HUS? Oregon residents are certainly no stranger to E. coli, HUS, or HUS caused by E. coli infection, which, in turn, was caused by raw milk. Multiple Oregon residents were sickened by E. coli from raw milk from November to December 2005, after consuming raw milk produced and sold by Dee Creek Farm. Several children developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.
During the December 2005 investigation into the E. coli outbreak, WSDA noted several milk processing violations that would have been addressed during the licensing process had Dee Creek applied for the license. Among the violations were the following:
- No animal health testing documentation for brucellosis and tuberculosis or health permits
- Beef cattle contact with wild elk
- No water or waste water system available at milk barn for milking operations or cleaning
- No hand washing sinks available for cleaning and sanitizing
- No bacteriological test results available for the farm’s well-water system
- Mud/manure with standing water at the entrance to the milk barn parlor
- Milking bucket in direct contact with unclean surfaces during milk production
- Multiple instances providing for the opportunity for cross-contamination
- No separate milk processing area from domestic kitchen
- No raw milk warning label provided on containers
In addition, sample testing confirmed the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in two milk samples provided by Dee Creek Farm and in five environmental samples taken from Dee Creek Farm milk-barn areas by investigators.
Of course, Oregon has seen many more E. coli outbreaks. Here are a few of the recent ones:
- Jaquith Strawberry Farms Strawberry E. coli outbreak 2011
- Interstate Meat Distributors E. coli outbreak 2007
- McGrath’s Fish House Parsley E. coli outbreak 2005
- Camp Yamhill Drinking Water E. coli outbreak 2005
Here are a few more statistics on raw milk in recent years:
- 26 raw dairy outbreaks with 333 illnesses, no deaths (24 fluid raw milk, 2 aged raw milk cheese)
- 2 pasteurized dairy outbreak with 39 illnesses, no deaths
- 1 pasteurized Mexican-style cheese sporadic illness, no deaths
- 2 queso fresco Mexican-style cheese outbreak with 67 illnesses, no deaths
- 3 sporadic illnesses and hospitalizations from illegal Mexican-style cheese, no deaths
Recalls (no illnesses reported)
- 14 raw dairy (7 fluid raw milk, 7 aged raw milk cheese)
- 7 queso fresco Mexican-style cheese
- 8 pasteurized (non-queso fresco) cheese
- 4 dairy product recalls due to inadequate pasteurization
Also see, Outbreaks from Unpasteurized (Raw) Milk and non-Mexican Style Raw Milk Cheeses, United States, 1998-2011. (1998-2011-outbreaks-raw-dairy.pdf)
For real facts about the risks of raw milk, visit Real Raw Milk Facts.