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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Raw or Pasteurized – Is Any Milk Safe?

Four deaths from mis-pasteurized milk or post-pasteurized contamination of milk on the East Coast and a raw milk campylobacter outbreak just up the road, makes me appreciate the benefits of single malt scotch.  As I posted a few days ago, the Raw Milk Hearings are set for Wednesday, January 16, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 4202 of the California State Capitol Building in Sacramento. And, despite the circus-like atmosphere that is everything politics – especially California – I am not sure I will be able to make it in person (parent/teacher conference conflict). Although not to disappoint the paranoid, I will have a lawyer in my office there listening to the testimony.  I hope he brings back a few buttons, t-shirts and protest signs.

Now talk about timing – In other raw milk news, Mary Gallagher of the Bellingham Herald reported this morning on “5 sickened by raw milk.”

Five people were sickened by the bacteria found in raw milk that was recalled last month from a local dairy, the Whatcom County Health Department announced Monday. Four Whatcom County residents and one Skagit County resident tested positive for the same campylobacter jejuni strain that was found in a routine sample of raw milk from Pleasant Valley Dairy. The dairy pulled that batch of milk from the shelves and has resumed its distribution of raw milk. The dairy has changed its testing procedures to reduce the risk of releasing contaminated milk, the health department said.

In an article I missed from a week ago (I admit I was focused once again on Big Beef poisoning us), Barbara LaBoe wrote on: “Dairy pays fine to settle tainted milk case.”

The owners of Woodland’s Dee Creek Farm have paid their state fine, finally ending the 2005 E. coli outbreak case.??The dairy, owned by Anita and Mike Puckett, sickened 18 people when E. coli contaminated their raw, or unpasteurized, milk in December 2005. Five children were hospitalized, two in critical condition. While investigating the outbreak the state found several violations, such as not having a dairy license and not properly testing animals for diseases. The dairy was fined $8,000 for violations.

My bet is that the California State Legislature amends or repeals the law setting new standards for the sale of raw milk.  I guess I need to practice my frivolous lawsuits and tune up the ambulance to chase down those damn milk farmers – raw and pasteurized.

  • Elisabeth Hartline

    Unfortunately, people become infected by food borne illnesses. Bacterias such as e. coli has been found in hamburger, fresh spinach, and even dry cereal. There is no way to completely rid our food sources of dangerous microorganisms. I refuse to stop consuming healthful foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, and even fresh, raw milk because of the risk of such contamination. The benefits far outweigh the risks. To be very safe, one should never eat at a restaurant. I’m likely not going to give that up either. What I refuse to eat are products from vending machines, fast-food chains, and the bizarre array of convenience products from my local grocery and even health food stores. Louis Pasteur was right. Nothing will live in a completely sanitary environment. Metchnikoff and his current-day cronies are idiots.