January 2012

familycowsign.jpgI do not drink raw milk, and suggest against it, and I would never suggest that children or the elderly drink it, (see, www.realrawmilkfacts.com for reasons why) but if I did, a guy like Ed Shank of Your Family Cow Dairy might get me to buy it from him.  Right now, however, he has a bit of a problem.

According to several news reports, the Pennsylvania and Maryland Departments of Health have confirmed cases of Campylobacter infections have increased to a total of 20 confirmed cases – 16 cases have been confirmed in Pennsylvania and four cases of the bacterial illness have been confirmed in the State of Maryland. Testing of the product is still underway at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.  Testing by Ed’s Dairy has so far come back negative.

Although Ed and his customers ( I think I have received a few dozen emails from them) have appropriately raised issues about the epidemiology of Pennsylvania’s and Maryland’s investigation, I was struck by this recent comment from the Farm’s website:

Many of you think an illness is impossible from a dairy as clean, careful, and caring as we are and have told us so. We understand. We would like to think that too, but the fact remains that we are human and we want to be humble enough to admit that it could have been us…either we personally or an equipment failure. 

That is not what I see often from the proponents of raw milk (Mark, I hope you are paying attention?).  There are no conspiracy theories by Ed, just a hard look at the stark facts of epidemiology – people that drank his milk are now sick.

Perhaps David Gumpert, (a.k.a., the Pope of Raw Milk) got it right almost one year ago today when Ed preemptively recalled his raw milk tainted with Campylobacter after his own tests came back positive:

All I can say to those in the public health and regulatory communities who snidely argue that producers of raw dairy are in denial about safety, The times, they are a ‘changin, and farmers like Pennsylvania dairyman Edwin Shank are leading the way.

So, more so than anything, let’s hope that the people sickened get well soon.  As for the investigation, the facts and the science will win out.  Hopefully, however those facts play out, we can move food safety forward – Ed has been a big help.

And, please remember that a Campylobacter illness can be much more than a tummy ache:

Raw Milk Risks: Mari Tardiff Campylobacter Illness from Marlerclark on Vimeo.

 

See, The Alexandre Eco Farms Dairy Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak

Also See, Outbreaks, Illnesses and Recalls Linked to Raw (Unpasteurized) and Pasteurized Dairy Products, United States January 2010 – November 2011

Is there a good reason to keep a companies name secret when it is linked to a foodborne illness outbreak?

tauxe.jpgI have a great deal of respect for Robert Tauxe, MD, MPH, Deputy Director of the Division of the CDC that is charged with prevention and control of foodborne, waterborne and fungal infections.  He has been in the diarrheal trenches for a very long time – since just after E. coli O157:H7 made its quiet entrance in McDonald’s restaurant (unnamed at the time) hamburgers in Michigan and Oregon to the deadliest Listeria outbreak linked to tainted Colorado cantaloupes.  Over many years he has had the responsibility for overseeing the 76 million (or is it 48 million) sickened, 325,000 (or it is 125,000) hospitalized, and 5,000 (or is it 3,000) deaths yearly due to foodborne illness – that is a lot of responsibility.  

I have had the pleasure over that last two decades to on occasion share the food safety stage with him (although you get the sense that the feeling is less than mutual).  And, I cannot think of anyone who looks better in a bow tie.

It is therefore with mixed emotions, and the knowledge that I likely make my relationship with public health – both federal and state – even more tenuous, that I question his quotes in today’s MSNBC dust-up over the disclosure or non-disclosure of “Mexican-style fast food restaurant chain, Restaurant Chain A” that is a source of a Salmonella outbreak that sickened 68 people in 10 states.  Here is what he had to say to MSNBC:

Dr. Robert Tauxe, a top CDC official, defended the agency’s practice of withholding company identities, which he said aims to protect not only public health, but also the bottom line of businesses that could be hurt by bad publicity. The CDC, the Food and Drug Administration and state health departments often identify companies responsible for outbreaks, but sometimes do not.

“The longstanding policy is we publicly identify a company only when people can use that information to take specific action to protect their health,” said Tauxe, the CDC’s deputy director of the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases.

“On the other hand, if there’s not an important public health reason to use the name publicly, CDC doesn’t use the name publicly.”

Because companies supply vital information about outbreaks voluntarily, CDC seeks to preserve cordial relationships.

“We don’t want to compromise that cooperation we’ll need,” Tauxe said. …

Tauxe acknowledged there’s no written policy or checklist that governs that decision, only decades of precedent.

“It’s a case-by-case thing and all the way back, as far as people can remember, there’s discussions of ‘hotel X’ or ‘cruise ship Y,” he said.

I too was quoted in the article above and was repeatedly asked if I thought that the CDC was bending to company pressure to keep the restaurant name quiet.  I said emphatically no!  But that did not make it into the article.  So, not to put words in Dr. Tauxe’s mouth (and granted he may have had more to say), but as best as I can tell, these are his arguments for disclosure and non-disclosure and my thoughts in italics:

A.  Although there is no written policy, it is the way we have done things for years;

Why do I hear my mom saying, “just because so and so does that does not mean you should too.” Like all government policies (and neckwear) – change is good.

B.  Since the outbreak has concluded, there is not an immediate public health threat;

Frankly, that is true in most foodborne illness outbreaks.  In nearly every single outbreak investigated by the CDC the outbreak is figured out far after the peak of the illnesses happened.  However, disclosure gives the public information on which companies have a strong or weak food safety record.

C.  Disclosing the name of the company jeopardizes cooperation from the company in this and future outbreaks; and

If a company will only cooperate if they are placed in a witness protection program and with promises of non-disclosure, it does not say much for our government’s and the company’s commitment to safe food.

D.  Bad publicity may cause economic hardship on the restaurant.

True, but not poisoning your customers is a better business practice.

I would also add a couple more reasons that I have received via email (mostly anonymously):

1.  The source was an unknown supplier, so naming the restaurant might place unfair blame on the restaurant;

This one does make some sense.  However, is this the unnamed restaurants first problem with a faulty supplier, or is this a pattern?  And, even if it is the first time, perhaps some of the unnamed product is still in the market?

2.  Since the outbreak involves a perishable item, by the time the CDC announces the outbreak, the tainted product has long been consumed;

This one I have heard a “bunch” of times – especially in leafy green outbreaks.  However, why should the public be left in the dark about the type of product that sickens as well as the likely grower and shipper so they can make future decision who to buy from?

3.  Going public with the name of the restaurant compromises the epidemiologic investigation by suggesting the source of the outbreak before the investigation is complete;

I completely agree with this one.  This is a tough call, and one that must create the most angst for public health officials – they decide the balance between having enough data to go forward to protect the public health or wait for more data.  The point is do not go forward until the investigation is complete.

4.  Public health is concerned of making an investigation mistake like, it’s the tomatoes, err, I mean peppers; and

See my answer to 3 above.  This is why under the law; public health officials are immune for liability for the decisions that they make in good faith to protect the public.

5.  Public health – especially surveillance – is under budgetary pressures and there is simply not the resources to complete investigations; and

There is no question that this is true.  I have seen it in dropped investigations over the last few years.  Labs are not doing genetic fingerprinting to help reveal links between ill people.  And, many tracebacks are stopped by the lack of peoplepower to do the research necessary to find the “root cause” of an outbreak.

For me it is easy – the public has a right to know and to use the information as it sees fit, and people – especially government employees – have no right to decide what we should and should not know.  CDC, FDA and the state health departments of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio and Tennessee should do their jobs.

cantaloupe_frontera.jpg

Or, 33, if you are going to count miscarriages – all included in the 146 the CDC counted.  People should not die from eating cantaloupe.

Sharon Kay Jones, 62, of Castle Rock, died on January 29, 2012 from complications of breast cancer and Listeria. The oldest of 6 children, she was born May 18, 1949 in Denver, CO to Elwood V. and Maxine R. (Provenzano) Johnson. She graduated Aurora Central High School in 1967 and married David A. Jones on November 8, 1969. They have one son, WB “Dub” Jones.

Sharon and family moved to Castle Rock in 1976 where she began working for the Douglas County Treasurer’s Office. She remained there 35 years, 28 as the Chief Deputy Treasurer, and was elected Douglas County Treasurer in 2002. She retired from her second term of elected office in January 2011 and took up a part time job at the Sheriff’s office.

Sharon quickly became known for her friendly, gracious, and warm personality, earning her the unofficial title of County Hugger. She was so good in this role that she enticed hugs from the most irascible personalities, a quality earning her hundreds of friends by the time she retired. Her generous nature and conscientious leadership made her a favorite elected official among her employees, peers, fellow elected officials, state government, and treasurers’ offices across Colorado.

An adventurous soul, Sharon took numerous camping trips and road trips across the United States. She developed a love for hot air balloons and determined that her second career would be as a hot air balloon chaser. Sharon also became a “motorcycle mama”, graduating at the top of her ABATE riding class and then taking cross-country trips on a bigger bike than many men ride. It was a source of great amusement for her son and daughter-in-law to witness public reaction to this short, round, matronly woman putting on her leathers, hopping aboard a large motorcycle and roaring off.

Sharon was known for wearing an angel pin every day, never realizing that many considered her their own personal angel. Before Sharon left this Earth, she composed this message for her friends: “I‘ve been blessed my whole life with so many people that care about and love me. I’ve truly enjoyed spending time with each and every one of you. I appreciate the support you’ve given me and my son and daughter-in-law during these last hard months. Thank you so much.”

She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law WB and Melody Jones, spouse David Jones, five siblings Larry Johnson, Kim Mandos, Janice Cook, Woody Johnson, and Craig Johnson, many nieces and nephews, and an enormous extended family.

Viewing Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church in Castle Rock, 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Funeral services Thursday, February 2 at the church beginning 1:00 p.m., reception following immediately. Interment held at a later date for family and close personal friends.

Non tax-deductible donations may be made in her memory to Womenade of Castle Rock, c/o Donna Scott, 2705 Castle Crest Drive, Castle Rock, CO 80104.

rawmilk-small.jpgAccording to press reports, the number of people confirmed sickened by raw milk from a Franklin County Pennsylvania store is on the rise. Last week, the Pennsylvania and Maryland State Health Departments issued an advisory that raw milk sold by The Family Cow store in Chambersburg may contain harmful bacteria.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized. The number of cases becoming infected with Campylobacter has doubled from six to 12 in Pennsylvania and Maryland. All the confirmed cases were people who drank milk purchased at The Family Cow. The store sells directly to consumers in an on farm retail store and at drop off locations and retail stores. The farm has voluntarily suspended raw milk production.

who-what-where-when-why-how.pngIn journalism, the “Five Ws and one H” – Who, What, When, Where, Why and How are regarded as the basics of information gathering for news.

Perhaps, it is time to do a little journalism?

Who became Ill?  A total of 68 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 10 states.

What do we know?  The CDC collaborated with public health officials in multiple states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections which was associated with eating food from a “Mexican-style fast food restaurant chain, Restaurant Chain A.”

When was the Outbreak?  The outbreak began October 13, 2011 until the final report was publishing on January 19, 2012.

Where are the Illnesses?  The number of ill persons identified in each state with the outbreak strain was as follows: Texas (43), Oklahoma (16), Kansas (2), Iowa (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), Nebraska (1), New Mexico (1), Ohio (1) and Tennessee (1).

Why we don’t know?  What is “Mexican-style fast food restaurant chain, Restaurant Chain A” with restaurants in at least Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio and Tennessee?

How is it that we still don’t know?  Well, after spending several hours trying to figure out what “Mexican-style fast food restaurant chains” do or do not have locations in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio and Tennessee, I gave up.  Which make me wonder how pissed the other “Mexican-style fast food restaurant chains” that are not “Restaurant A.”

Update:

CDC says total number ill are 68 in Texas (43), Oklahoma (16), Kansas (2), Iowa (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), Nebraska (1), New Mexico (1), Ohio (1), and Tennessee (1).

So, which restaurant?  It could be any of the ones below, but more likely the one in BOLD – CDC only says where people got sick – it could be that they ate in a restaurant in another state then where they reside.

– Taco Bell: Multiple locations in every outbreak state.

Qdoba: In every outbreak state; Only 1 in Northwest corner of NM (officials from Qdoba have confirmed that they are not retaurant A).

– Chipotle: In all outbreak states except Tennessee, which has one victim. However, there are locations in 3 of Tennessee’s neighboring states.  Only one NM location (officials from Chipolte have confirmed that they are not retaurant A).

– Del Taco: Locations in all but 3 outbreak states (IA, KS and TN), but Kansas has one right over the border in MO.

– Taco Del Mar: Not in KS, MO, or TN, but right on TN border with Mississippi.

– Taco John’s: In all outbreak states but OK, MI, and TN, but one right across TN border in Kentucky.

constitution_quill_pen.jpgThis past week, I read Utah’s S.B. 34 titled “Production and Sale of food in Utah Revisions,” along with its New Hampshire counterpart, H.B. 1650-FN, called “Commerce in Food in New Hampshire.”  As any lawyer would, I immediately asked myself, “what are these pieces of legislation really trying to do,” and, of course, “are they constitutional?”  I’ll get to those questions in a moment.  Here are the two bills:

The Utah bill, S.B. 34:

  • Prohibits federal regulation of an agricultural product that remains in Utah after it is made, grown, or produced in Utah;
  • Allows a person to identify certain agricultural products by indicating that the products are “Made in Utah,” “Grown in Utah,” or “Produced in Utah;”
  • Prohibits a person from claiming that an agricultural product was made, grown, or produced in Utah if the product is not a Utah agricultural product; and
  • Makes it a class A misdemeanor for a person to enforce federal regulation of a Utah agricultural product that remains in Utah.

Under the bill, the definition of “Utah agricultural product” is an agricultural product that is entirely, (i) made in Utah, (ii) grown in Utah, (iii) produced in Utah or produced with an insignificant part of a basic or generic material that is acquired from outside of Utah.

I guess that could mean Made/Grown/Produced in Utah and a little bit in China? 

Perhaps even more problematic than SB 34’s possible conflict with Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause is that SB 34 creates criminal liability for state or local officer trying to enforce federal law.  This is a conflict with federal law if there ever was one, presuming, of course, that Congress (and its statutorily created agencies, the FDA and USDA) had the constitutional power to regulate the conduct in the first place.

The New Hampshire bill, HB 1650-FN:

Like Utah’s bill, this bill seeks to

  • Exempt foodstuffs grown or produced, and then sold, in New Hampshire from federal regulation if the product is labeled “Made in New Hampshire;” and,
  • Provides penalties for both agents attempting to enforce federal regulations and for producers and processors who label their food as “Made in New Hampshire” when it does not meet “Made in New Hampshire” requirements.

According to the preamble, the purpose of the New Hampshire bill is to allow for locally produced food products to be sold and consumed within New Hampshire and to encourage the expansion and accessibility of farmers’ markets, roadside stands, farm and home based sales, and producer to end consumer agricultural sales.

First, these bills seem to lack any clear point.  The sale of local food certainly is not improperly impeded by the fact that there are federal laws that bear on the production of that food.  And clearly, these bills are not motivated by a concern for the public’s safety.  Instead, these bills are just a effort to piecemeal these states out of an entirely constitutional regulatory scheme that, like it or not (and pretty clearly, they don’t like it) allows for federal regulation and oversight over a broad range of food producers, and food producing activities.  Even New Hampshire’s slogan “Live Free or Die” must recognize the federal government’s constitutional role in our society.

On that point, exactly what is the federal government’s power to control the methods and manners by which our food is produced and sold?  Most will immediately jump to the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution.  Undoubtedly, this powerful set of words is a part of the equation, but it is only a part.  The federal government not only has plenary (meaning complete and all encompassing) power over interstate commerce—i.e. commerce between the states—but also can constitutionally undertake any act, so long as it does not infringe on some individual right guaranteed by the bill of rights or some power granted to another branch of government, that is “necessary and proper” to the furtherance of its enumerated power over interstate commerce. 

Just words?  Think again.  A little more history:  The federal government is one of enumerated powers, meaning that it can act only where it has the constitutional authority to do so.  As James Madison wrote:

[t]he powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.  Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.

The Federalist No. 45, pp. 292-293 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961).  Among the powers specifically delegated to the federal government is the power “[t]o regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”  U.S. CONST. art. I, § 8, cl. 3.  The “commerce clause” has, of course, become a particularly potent regulatory enabler that, as a result, has spawned a notoriously complex body of case law.  See generally United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1994) (Kennedy, J., concurring).  For present purposes, however, it suffices to say that the Commerce Clause has provided the constitutional authority for a great many landmark legislative and regulatory measures.

The Supreme Court’s interpretation of these powers has produced a complex line of case law that contemplates the rightful regulation of things that appear to be even intrastate matters—i.e. local actions that do not involve the sales of goods and services across state lines—as long as those matters have a “substantial economic effect on interstate commerce.”  See Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111, 125 (1942) (emphasis added).   “[E]ven if appellee’s activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce.”  Id.

This is mere food for thought, as it remains to be seen how the actions that are seemingly insulated from federal reach by the Utah and New Hampshire bills actually affect interstate commerce.  The crafting of the Utah’s and New Hampshire’s legislation to require the production (well, maybe not all of it) of the food instate and that it be consumed or remain instate (hmm, what about internet sales and roadside stands or farmer’s markets near state borders?), at most allows these states to walk a fine line around the Commerce Clause.

And then, again, there are the provisions in these bills that seek to criminalize any action taken to enforce a federal law that is in conflict with the dictates of these bills.  Even the bills themselves acknowledge the potential tension with the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution (Article VI, Section 2):  “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States . . . shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

The Utah bill’s legislative analysis acknowledges that the United States Supreme Court has “long recognized that state laws that conflict with federal law are ‘without effect,'” Altria Group, Inc. v. Good, 555 U.S. 70, 76 (2008), quoting Maryland v. Louisiana, 451 U.S. 725, 746 (1981), and has further held that an individual cannot be guilty of a state crime if the individual was acting necessarily and properly under the authority of the laws of the United States. Cunningham v. Neagle, 135 U.S. 1, 75 (1890).

The only relevant question is whether Congress, again through its statutorily created agencies FDA and USDA, have the power to regulate, or create the law that is in conflict with the Utah or New Hampshire law, in the first place.  If so, there is an unconstitutional conflict with the Supremacy Clause, and these states laws are of no force and effect.

Again, on this question the Necessary and Proper Clause speaks loudly.  Properly created federal agencies like the FDA and USDA have the constitutional power to make any regulation that is both necessary and proper to the effectuation of its constitutional authority over interstate commerce.  And this, as the Supreme Court said in Wickard v. Filburn, potentially reaches even activities that appear purely local in character. 

At best, the Utah and New Hampshire bills raise a number of Constitutional concerns.  At worst, we should all just view these bills for what they really are:  likely misguided attempts to address the concerns of just a few about feared governmental intrusion into our private lives.  I’m all for freedom, but not every guy who espouses the power of his constitutional rights and liberties is correct in his analysis of constitutional jurisprudence.  I would say that the supporters of these bills have conscientiously walked a fine line between constitutional right and wrong, and have done so in a basically empty manner. 

What do these bills really accomplish?

More to the point, what are Utah and New Hampshire Agriculture afraid of?  Are they really afraid of the FDA and FSIS regulating food safety within the state, especially when it is likely that they food may cross state boundaries?  And, why would the legislature even consider laws that are likely unconstitutional?  Is it to curry favor of a constituent, or stick a thumb in the eye of Uncle Sam?

The point should be to produce safe food, not to push legislation that essentially meaningless.

Deborah Schoch, of the CHCF Center for Health Reporting, writing for the LA Times gave me some space in her story, “Salad industry on hunt for solution to tainted greens.”

crowded_vegas_pool_party_400.jpgOne of the biggest hurdles facing scientists now is how salad bagging works.

Thousands upon thousands of salad leaves are taken to a central plant, washed together, bagged and shipped. Even if only a few leaves are tainted, harmful pathogens can spread in the wash water — the modern salad version of the old adage that one bad apple spoils the whole barrel.

“I would think of it as swimming in a swimming pool in Las Vegas with a thousand people I didn’t know,” said William Marler, a prominent Seattle-based food safety attorney whose work began with the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak that sickened hundreds and killed four. Since then, he has represented thousands of victims and families in major outbreaks linked to hamburger, peanut butter, spinach and cantaloupe, among others.

If tainted leaves make it to the processing plant, salad companies have to remove the pathogens, which is harder than it might seem. “The problem with produce is that once it’s contaminated, especially fresh-consumed produce, it’s extremely hard to get off,” said Randy Worobo, a Cornell University associate professor of food microbiology.

My only comment on her story is this line talking about bagged salad post 2006:

“… even though no major incident has occurred since.”

Honestly, I think she and other reporters should do a bit more digging – See, “Information as Currency in Public Health.”

hannaford-logo1.jpgHannaford’s was implicated in a 19-victim, 7-state outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak that was likely the result of “high-risk practices;” so says the USDA’s FSIS.  Hannaford’s stores did not keep grinding records that showed the source of all the trimmings that they used when they ground their beef for resale, and the result is, will we never know the identity of the beef company that sold Hannaford’s the antibiotic-resistant Salmonella-contaminated beef. 

Leslie Bridgers at the Portland Press Herald wrote today:

Officials from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said Friday that they plan to close the investigation within a week.

The officials said Hannaford’s “high-risk practices” for grinding beef were the barrier in their investigation, although those practices did not break any regulatory requirements and are probably used by other meat retailers.

Daniel Engeljohn, assistant administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service, said it was not always clear from Hannaford’s records when the stores were grinding the trimmings. Investigators found that Hannaford would grind trimmings and tube meat without cleaning the equipment in between, he said, raising the possibility of cross-contamination.

Engeljohn noted that there is a lower sanitary standard for the cuts of meat that are used for trimmings than there is for the ground beef that comes in tubes.

There is no requirement that equipment be cleaned between grinds of meat from different companies, Engeljohn said, but the USDA has told retailers for several years that it recommends it, along with more complete information in grinding logs.

Hannaford’s “high-risk practices” aside, it is past time for FSIS to mandate better “regulator requirements” so the source of tainted beef can be found.  As importantly, FSIS consideration must be given to the use of trim (a beef product most likely to be contaminated) as a source of fill for ground beef production.

Screen Shot 2012-01-27 at 8.34.25 PM.pngThe Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is reporting multiple Campylobacter infection cases associated with consumption of raw (unpasteurized) milk from the Family Cow dairy store in Chambersburg, PA. DHMH, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, advises consumers that milk recently purchased from this store may contain harmful bacteria.

To date, there are six confirmed campylobacteriosis cases: three in Maryland and three in Pennsylvania, all of whom consumed raw milk from this farm. Maryland DHMH recommends consumers discard any product purchased from this farm since January 1, 2012.

Campylobacter is a bacterial cause of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and can progress to more serious illness, such as a bloodstream infection and other complications. Illness generally occurs two to five days after exposure. In 2011, Maryland reported nearly 600 Campylobacter infections.

The implicated milk is labeled “raw milk” (meaning, not pasteurized) and is sold under “The Family Cow” label in plastic gallon, half gallon, quart and pint containers. The Family Cow dairy sells directly to consumers at its on-farm retail store and at multiple drop-off locations and retail stores in the following Pennsylvania counties: Bucks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Lebanon, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York counties.

Raw milk and products made from raw milk (including certain cheeses, ice cream, and yogurt) can pose severe health risks. Pasteurization is performed by briefly heating raw milk to kill disease-causing germs (e.g., Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, Campylobacter) that can be found in raw milk. Maryland state law prohibits the sale of unpasteurized milk.

This found its way into my inbox tonight:

URGENT – MICHAEL FOODS INC PRODUCT RECALL

IMMEDIATE ACTION NECESSARY

INTERNAL CORRESPONDENCE – DO NOT FORWARD

Sysco Quality Assurance received notification that MICHAEL FOODS, INC., is conducting a voluntary product RECALL of hard-cook egg product.

The reason for the RECALL is due to a presumptive positive for Listeria monocytogenes in specific lots of products. Listeria monocytogenes can produce mild flu-like symptoms in all individuals. However, in susceptible individuals, including pregnant women, newborns, and the immunocompromised, it can result in more severe symptoms, which include: septicemia, meningitis, encephalitis, spontaneous abortion, and stillbirth. Symptoms start from 3 days to 3 weeks after consumption. Mortality is high to those that display the more severe symptoms. There have been no complaints, reported illnesses, or concerns identified with the products in the marketplace presently.

THE AFFECTED PRODUCTS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

SUPC 1403898

MPC 74865-56841-00

PACK/SZ 1/10LB

BRAND WHLFCLS

DESCRIPTION EGG HARDBOILED WHL PEEL SEL

AFFECTED LOT CODES: 

SUPC LOT CODES

1403898 1363W

Sysco Kansas City shipped this product from approximate dates of 9 January 2012 to 25 January 2012.

PLEASE TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS:

1. Review your inventory for the above listed products.

2. If any of the products in question are in inventory, place the products on hold for destruction.

3. Contact your customers that may have received the products and ask that they destroy affected inventory.