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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

More Sour News For Connecticut Raw Milk E. coli Dairy

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DOA) are investigating an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157 associated with consumption of unpasteurized milk produced at a dairy farm in Simsbury, CT.  A total of four cases have been identified; one is laboratory-confirmed as E. coli O157 at the DPH State Laboratory and two are presumptively positive for E. coli O157 at clinical laboratories.  All four patients were diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) or thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP); three required hospitalization.  Three patients are children, aged 2 to 7 years.  Onset of symptoms occurred during June 28 – July 15, 2008.

Unpasteurized milk was sold on site at the dairy farm and also distributed to four food markets in the greater Hartford area.  The farm had voluntarily suspended all raw milk production on July 9 as a result of elevated coliform counts found on routine testing that was done as part of the production process.  Based on patient interviews, raw milk consumed by the cases had known sell-by dates of June 24, July 4, and July 13.  The sell-by date is generally one week from the production date. 

The Town Farm Dairy was profiled in the New York Times earlier this year – "Making Their Case for Raw Milk"

  • Krystal

    My sister is one of the victims of the E. coli outbreak from this farm, and she has been very sick in the ICU for several weeks now. She is a single mom of a 21 month old little boy, and we were so scared for weeks that my nephew was going be left parentless. There is a comment from Pete from Wolcott about HUS, which my sister was diagnosed with, and it has been a very scary ordeal for my entire family. We’ve stayed by her side night and day. The medical bills that my sister will have will be astronomical, not to mention the medical conditions she will probably have to deal with for the rest of her life. Please keep her in your prayers…she is very slowly getting better, but she is not out of the woods yet.

  • Krystal

    My sister is one of the victims of the E. coli outbreak from this farm, and she has been very sick in the ICU for several weeks now. She is a single mom of a 21 month old little boy, and we were so scared for weeks that my nephew was going be left parentless. There is a comment from Pete from Wolcott about HUS, which my sister was diagnosed with, and it has been a very scary ordeal for my entire family. We’ve stayed by her side night and day. The medical bills that my sister will have will be astronomical, not to mention the medical conditions she will probably have to deal with for the rest of her life. Please keep her in your prayers…she is very slowly getting better, but she is not out of the woods yet.

  • Margerie

    Well, I hope she is doing better – what happened to the pathogen testing that is done on raw milk? While I think raw milk testing is necessary because it is RAW, I wanted to point out that last year a dairy in Massachusetts killed 3 people and the milk was PASTEURIZED. I think too much press focuses on one (negative for raw only) and not the other — they can both be killers if handled the wrong way.

  • The E.coli O157 H7 strain is one of the most dangerous strains in the coliform group and the dairyman in charge of milk production have to pay utmost care to deliver pathogen free raw milk to the consumers. The E.coli should never be considered as just another bacterium during milk production, processing, transportation, storage and distribution.

  • R.B

    Raw milk is very dangerous and there is a bill that is going throughout the state of CT to ban the raw milk in our state. Please contact your local representative and have them support this bill so something like this does not happen again. Act quickly!!!

  • riley

    @R.B Did you read Margerie’s post above? Should pasteurized milk also be banned? A serious E.coli outbreak was caused by raw spinach. Do we need a regulation prohibiting people from eating spinach? Perhaps the know what is in our best interest regulators should ban peanut butter to prevent another salmonella outbreak. Provide people with unbiased facts and let them make their own decision. I choose to drink raw milk (obviously). If you choose not to that should be up to you. If the government reversed its position and said that raw milk was in fact good for you, should a regulation be passed that forces you to drink it. Choice is a wonderful thing. Stop trying to have regulations passed that prevent people from making choices that are different than yours. You can not regulate away every potential problem.
    @Krystal- I hope your sister has fully recovered.

  • Doug

    R.B. Your comment is hysterical (in the not-funny sense). Are you passing a bill to outlaw cars, by far the biggest killers in the U.S.? And as Riley points out, did you read Margerie’s post?
    Less hysterics, more common sense. Raw Milk is only as dangerous as it is allowed to be. It is also miraculously healthy. The blade always cuts both ways.
    And yes, Krystal, I hope your sister has recovered. It is a very sad and tragic thing that happened to her, and I can’t imagine the turmoil it has left at your familie’s door. Best wishes.

  • Concerned

    This is a late post but it is googled 1st page for raw milk in CT.
    It is important to note that raw milk is a preventable danger that has no use in the modern US food system other than to appease those that have firmed their ignorance in believing the ridiculous health claims. Comparing removing raw milk and removing cars is a false analogy and even presenting that as an argument for keeping raw milk is itself “hysterics.” And if you like to slander the farm in Worcester that many New England pro raw supporters bring up, please fact check. The resulting investigation showed it was the chocolate additive from a plant in Canada that was infected, not the milk itself.
    The point the health dept’s make is that raw milk is a fully preventable problem. The farmer no matter excellent their husbandry is can not under any circumstances control all factors leading to pathogenic contamination of their product that a simple pasteurisation process will elimanate with high efficacious results. This is not a question of being able to choose, it’s consumer protection from thier own ignorance. I for one do not care for others to be burdening the health care system because of stupidity.