Raw milk causes devastating illness on an all-too-frequent basis. From 1998 to 2011 there have been at least 86 outbreaks nationally of E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and Campylobacter in raw milk. These outbreaks have resulted in 1401 illnesses, including the 3 people (at least 2 children) sickened recently in Washington State from raw milk produced and sold by Cozy Vale Creamery. (NOTE: this data does not include illnesses linked to the consumption of cheese and other products made from raw milk).
Here are a few of the outbreaks that have occured in the last 3 years:
- In 2008, Connecticut public health officials identified 14 cases of E. coli O157:NM illness amongst state residents sickened by contaminated raw milk produced by the Town Farm Dairy in Simsbury, Connecticut.
- Also in 2008, in Missouri, at least 4 people were infected by E. coli O157:H7 in an outbreak linked to raw goat’s milk produced by Autumn Olive Farms and sold at the Herb Depot.
- Yet another raw milk outbreak occurred in 2008. In May and June 2008, approximately 16 people were sickened by Campylobacter Jejuni in an outbreak linked to raw cow’s milk in and around Del Norte, California. The outbreak was linked to raw milk from Alexandre Ecodairy.
- In 2009, at least 81 Colorado residents were sickened by Campylobacter Jejuni in an outbreak linked to raw milk from the Kinikin Dairy in Montrose County, Colorado.
- In May and June 2010, raw milk and related products produced by dairyman Mike Hartmann at Hartmann Dairy in Minnesota were the source of at least 8 confirmed E. coli O157:H7 illnesses amongst Minnesota residents.
- In April 2010, two separate outbreaks of Salmonella and Campylobacter linked to the consumption of raw milk occurred in Utah. The Salmonella outbreak, which sickened at least 6 people, was caused by raw milk produced and sold by a dairy in central Utah. The Campylobacter outbreak, which sickened at least 9 people, was caused by raw milk from a northern Utah dairy.
- In November 2011, raw milk products from Organic Pastures dairy in Fresno, California were placed under a quarantine order by the California State Veterinarian. The quarantine order came following a notification from the California Department of Public Health of a cluster of five children who were infected, from August through October, with the same strain of E. coli O157:H7. These children are residents of Contra Costa, Kings, Sacramento, and San Diego counties. Interviews with the families indicate that the only common reported food exposure is unpasteurized (raw) milk from Organic Pastures dairy. Three of the five children were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that may lead to kidney failure. There have been no deaths. Surveys indicate that only about three percent of the public report drinking raw milk in any given week so finding 100% of these children drank raw milk and the absence of other common foods or animal exposures indicates the Organic Pastures raw milk is the likely source of their infection.