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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Gibbon, Minnesota Hartmann Dairy Farm linked to E. coli illnesses traced to raw milk

Minnesota State health officials have linked three cases of E. coli O157:H7 illness with raw milk from a dairy farm in Gibbon, Minn. The Minnesota Department of Health urges anyone who may have recently purchased milk from the Hartmann Dairy Farm, also known as M.O.M.’s, to discard the product and not consume it. The milk may be labeled organic and consumers may be unaware that the milk has not been pasteurized. In addition, consumers should not eat cheese, ice cream or other dairy products from the farm, which also may have been made from raw, unpasteurized milk.

Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 illness typically include stomach cramps and diarrhea, including bloody diarrhea.People typically become ill two to five days after eating contaminated food. E. coli O157:H7 disease sometimes leads to a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure and can occur a week or more after the onset of diarrhea. People who have developed symptoms after consuming unpasteurized milk should seek immediate medical attention. Those most at risk of developing complications from E. coli infection include the very young, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.

The Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are continuing to investigate a cluster of four E. coli O157:H7 illnesses that all have the same “pulsed field gel electrophoresis” (PFGE) patterns, or DNA fingerprint. Three of the four cases report a link to milk from Hartmann Farm; the fourth case is under investigation. Three of the four people were hospitalized as a result of their illness; one case has developed HUS.  Minnesota law prohibits most raw milk sales, except for occasional purchases directly at the farm where the milk is produced.

For more information on raw milk see, www.realrawmilkfacts.com.

  • Bill,
    Will you please confirm that this was raw milk?
    Thank you,
    (My comment below on Gumpert’s The Complete Patient blog:)
    RE E.Coli outbreak – are they sure this is raw milk? Reports say it is labeled “organic”….but see last paragraph below saying it is pasteurized. I couldn’t find any other data on this farm; besides the pages and pages about how an outbreak was attributed to raw milk from this farm…think they’ll retract?
    ” M.O.M’s is a small family operated creamery that only sells to a few thousand, largely local, customers. General Mills is a major international corporation with dozens of subsidiaries and hundreds of food product labels. The company’s retail customers likely number in the millions.
    Both M.O.M’s and General Mills, through subsidiaries such as Muir Glen, have come to the realization that selling certified organic products is profitable. The Hartmans, the farm family that owns M.O.M’s, has known this for a long time. Before they started their farmstead creamery their cows and land were certified organic. General Mills is more of a newcomer to organics….”
    “…M.O.M’s can’t sell milk straight from the bulk tank. But their goal is to get certified organic dairy products to their customers that tastes as close to the sweet, fresh taste of “straight-from-the-bulk-tank” as processing rules allow. That includes lower pasteurization temperatures, minimal agitation, no homogenization of bottled milk and careful handling of the finished product.”
    May 27, 2010 | Registered CommenterBlair McMorran

  • Keep in mind, please, that the bacteria were found in manure samples, not in the food itself. No one who got sick was eating cow manure in their products according to the reports I’ve read.
    If they want to crack down on small farmers for E. coli, it is easy to do. You can find it on your own kitchen counter, for goodness’ sake. You will certainly stand a good chance of finding it in manure.