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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Just in time for the Super Bowl, the FDA is questioning the “60 day rule” on raw milk cheese safety

cheesehead.jpgAfter the recent E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to Bravo raw milk gouda cheese that sickened 38 (one with HUS), the New York Times is quickly becoming the go to newspaper for cheese lovers.

Bill Neuman wrote yet another article on cheese – “Raw Milk Cheesemakers Fret Over Possible New Rules” – After Food Safety News reported it and in follow-up to my five part series on raw milk and the “60 day rule” – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5  (cheese piece Final updated 12_18_10-1.pdf), and the continuing Outbreaks, illnesses and recalls linked to raw (unpasteurized) and pasteurized dairy products in the United States.  He did note in his article from the FDA Inspection Report – Observation 2 – that Bravo packaged cheese for shipment BEFORE the 60 days had run.

Mr. Neuman last year also penned – “As Cheesemaking Blooms, So Can Listeria” and “Small Cheesemaker Defies F.D.A. Over Recall” – following a Listeria recall linked to Estrella Family Creamery (See Inspection) and an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to Sally Jackson Cheese (See Inspection) – both producers from the State of Washington.

The Washington Post also “wheyed” in on cheese with Lyndsey Layton’s article – “FDA ramps up scrutiny on a new area: Cheese”

In case you missed my quote:

“William Marler, a Seattle attorney for 11 people sickened by Bravo Farms cheese, said the government is not singling out small cheesemakers. “The FDA isn’t beating up on artisanal cheesemakers,” he said. “It’s doing its job, which is to protect public health.”

Go Packers!  But, think about the cheese on the party plate.

  • Doc Mudd

    Well done, Mr. Marler.
    Your diligent reporting efforts have kept this preventable food safety issue from being swept under the carpet or shouted down. Maybe we will see some FDA action on this after all.
    Sometimes it probably seems like preaching to the choir, but your message isn’t falling on deaf ears entirely.
    Thank you.

  • Bill Anderson

    Bill, can you tell me when was the last time a Wisconsin raw milk cheese, made by a licensed Wisconsin cheese maker, caused an outbreak?
    Yes, that’s a challenge to you. If you are going to make posts like this schmearing us, you better back it up with credible evidence. I’m aware of plenty outbreaks from CA, but where are the ones from Wisconsin? You tell me.

  • Bill, really? I really like your posts – when you are talking facts and ideas – but does your anger and paranoia know no bounds? You also seem devoid of a sense of humor or perspective – you should check what you eat and drink.
    I meant no harm to Wisconsin or its cheese makers. It just seemed with the Packers (and their cheese heads) in the Super Bowl, and the NYT and WaPo discussing cheese, I thought it a good idea to combine the two? Sorry to have offended you. Here is the WaPo article:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/05/AR2011020502210.html
    In case you missed my quote:
    “William Marler, a Seattle attorney for 11 people sickened by Bravo Farms cheese, said the government is not singling out small cheesemakers. “The FDA isn’t beating up on artisanal cheesemakers,” he said. “It’s doing its job, which is to protect public health.”

  • Not directly related to raw milk cheeses, but here are some interesting links to what’s happening in Wisconsin, or at least what has happened.
    This has more info on Wisconsin:
    http://datcp.wi.gov/uploads/Food/pdf/PathogensInRawMilkKazmierczak.pdf
    Not “artisan” raw milk cheese, but here’s the reported outbreaks since 2000 in WI…
    http://www.marlerblog.com/uploads/file/Table%201%20Part%203%20revised_2%5B1%5D.pdf
    2000: Campylobacter jejuni, 19 illnesses, farm visit, raw milk
    2001: Campylobacter jejuni, 75 illnesses, private home, raw milk
    Outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni Infections Associated with Drinking Unpasteurized Milk Procured through a Cow-Leasing Program — Wisconsin, 2001
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5125a2.htm
    2006: Campylobacter jejuni, 58 illnesses, private home/workplace, homemade raw cheese
    2009: Campylobacter jejuni, 35 illnesses, private home/cow share, raw milk
    http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=1121&yr=2009
    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2009/09/-after-unpasteurized-milk-sickened/

  • Doc Mudd, shilling for common sense & the scientific method

    One more oldie, but goodie…
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4940a3.htm
    “,,,eight laboratory-confirmed and four suspected Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections among west-central Wisconsin residents who became ill…implicated fresh (held

  • Bill Anderson

    You didn’t answer my question, Bill. You cite one case of homemade raw milk cheese causing an outbreak. It was not made by a licensed Wisconsin cheese maker.
    Why are you so intent on drumming up fear? The most awarded cheese in America is a Wisconsin raw milk cheese. It has never caused any illnesses, ever.

  • Bill, thanks for pointing out the differences between homemade raw milk cheese causing illness and licensed WI cheese makers (assume raw milk too?) not causing illness.