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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

E. coli and Listeria in Raw Milk and Cheese – Growth Sectors at Marler Clark

gouda.jpgRaw.jpgI am having a hard time keeping up on the outbreaks and recalls related to raw milk products. Estrella in the last week and Bravo Farms this week.  I certainly need to update our table of outbreaks and recalls related to both raw and pasteurized milk products, but I am about to board a plane to China. Clearly, however, I need to hire a new associate or two – perhaps with dairy backgrounds.

10 raw dairy outbreaks with 105 illnesses

1 queso fresco Mexican-style cheese outbreak with 5 illnesses

3 sporadic illnesses from illegal Mexican-style cheese Recalls

5 raw dairy recalls (3 raw milk, 2 raw cheese)

3 queso fresco cheese recalls

Click to download table with citations – update to follow (after a 15 hour flight).

  • Bill Anderson

    Here you go again, Bill Marler, with more misinformation, just demonstrating (as one poster put it so eloquently) that knowing food law does not mean that you understand food science.
    First of all, the term “raw milk cheese” is not legally defined in the United States.
    Many commercially produced “raw milk cheeses” are made with milk that has undergone a heat-treatment similair to pasteurization, but at lower temperatures than legal pasteurization. This is NOT the same thing as REAL raw milk cheese. If that gouda was being sold at CostCo, my guess would be that it is being made from heat-treated milk and not real raw milk.
    The American Raw Milk cheese maker’s association defines a raw milk cheese as:
    “Cheese produced from milk that, prior to setting the curd, has not been heated above the temperature of the milk (104°F, 40°C) at the time of milking and that the cheese produced from that milk shall be aged for 60 days or longer at a temperature of not less than 35°F (2°C) in accordance with US FDA regulations.”
    This is the same way that the EU defines raw milk cheese (except for the 60-day aging period and FDA) to exclude heat-treated cheeses from the category of a real raw milk cheese, because they are NOT the same thing.
    But more importantly, you continue to put all your faith in the FDA and the “food safety” establishment.
    In case there is ANY question where the FDA stands on these matters, see this:
    So I must ask you, the hot-shot lawyer — do you intend to do ANYTHING, ANYTHING AT ALL about the pending GMO salmon approval, and the ban on non-GMO salmon producers labelling their products as GMO free?
    It is definetly a food safety issue. GMO foods have documented histories of causing allergic reactions and adverse health effects. But of course, these things are all approved by FDA and help to increase corporate bottom lines. Raw milk does not.
    Can you answer this question, Bill Marler? Do you intend to do anything about the pending GMO salmon approval? Or are you going to continue being a tool of FDA and corporate agribusiness?

  • Doc raymond

    Safe travels, Bill. And see if you can tie raw milk and GMO Salmon approval together. Other than the fact that technophobes are opposed to both, that is.

  • Gabrielle

    I think we all believe the FDA needs help, especially Bill. This is what Senate Bill S. 510 is all about.

  • Sam

    Wow, that was a sudden turn. Almost lost me on that one Mr. Anderson; perhaps you can help us all understand how poisoning from raw milk products can be related to issues surrounding the production of GMO salmon?
    I have no interest in consuming GMO fish, but nonetheless would like to understand any link to raw milk poisoning.

  • Curious George

    According to the site Mr. Anderson cites: beer causes autoimmune disease, HFCS causes obesity and metabolic syndrome, BPA causes agression, and ice cream is packed full of rBGH. So following Mr. Anderson’s logic, Mr. Marler, when are you going to start going after the beer companies, corn growers, bottled water makers, and Haagen Dazs? That highly professional site also features a kitty that fights diabetes and heart disease with a watermelon addition.
    On that note, I also would like to know when Mr. Anderson, the smart-ass blogger who knows everything about cheese and the government — if he intends to run for political office to effect change in the FDA, become a lawyer and sue corporate agribusiness, or conduct and publish research in a credible scientific journal to validate his claims? Or is he more interested in just commenting on other people’s blogs and deriding their work?

  • Really, I’m a tool of Big Business and the FDA. Bill, you are not only 25 years old, but very, very silly.

  • L. E. Peterson

    If Mr. Marler is a tool of Big Business and the FDA, then I must be the great Satan because I work for the government as an inspector! (gasp–the horror!)

    There’s good bugs and bad bugs. Mr. Marler and I are working to get rid of the bad bugs and that means the food processors have to produce food in a sanitary environment. Self-regulation doesn’t work. Remember Upton Sinclair’s novel, “The Jungle” ? You can thank Mr. Sinclair for the laws that established the FDA and USDA meat inspection.

    Mr. Anderson and his friends continue to miss the forest for the trees on this debate. He reminds me of myself so many years ago when the public was clamoring for tighter regulations on E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef. I made very similar comments about E. coli ; “It’s everywhere and if you just cook your food you won’t get sick!” Oh how naive I was back then! (I think I was about 25 at that time as well….hmmm). I changed my tune after spending many years in the USDA inspection force and saw just how bad some of the bad apples can be.

    On the bright side, after several years of work in the meat industry, I’ve seen what can be done to control the bad bacteria. I know it can be done and, contrary to Mr. Anderson’s beliefs, most of the “big business” guys want to keep their food safe. No one, big or small, wants their business to fail because of a food poisoning outbreak. The bad apples that refuse to clean up their act have to removed from the playing field. It’s that simple.

  • Note that at least 4 of the outbreaks on the chart originated from pasteurized products.
    The slippery slope argument is so seductive, even addictive. The recent problems at a few facilities that make raw milk cheese are just that – problems at individual cheese facilities. Controls can be implemented and harmful pathogens can be eliminated from production – and they should be. No one in the cheese industry wants to make or sell harmful products.
    Exceptional raw milk cheese is being made safely at companies across the United States, Canada and Europe every day.

  • Bill Anderson

    This just in — how the FDA and CDFA botched the Morningland Dairy situation:
    Can we really believe what FDA is telling us, given this level of dishonesty and sloppy record keeping? Morningland was the first targetted in the recent crackdown on raw milk cheese… I look forward to future rebuttals of their misinformation in the other cases, because it is very clear that Bill Marler’s drumbeat against raw milk cheese is based on blind trust of misleading propoganda from FDA.
    Again, I would question whether this gouda E. Coli outbreak is even from REAL raw milk cheese, or if its from cheese made with heat-treated milk (pasteurized below legal pasteurization temperatures).