The Family Cow Raw MilkAccording to AP, an outbreak of a Campylobacter bacterial infection due to consuming raw milk from a Edwin Shank’s Family Cow Farm in Pennsylvania is now linked to 38 illnesses in four states, The farm has temporarily suspended sales. Four are sick in Maryland according to the Maryland Department of Health. One person is sick in New Jersey and two in West Virginia, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Thirty-one people are sick in Pennsylvania, many of them in Franklin County, where the farm is located.

Campylobacter is the second most common cause of bacterial foodborne illness in the United States after Salmonella. Active surveillance through FoodNet indicates that there are about 13 cases for each 100,000 persons in the population diagnosed yearly with C. jejuni infection (MMWR, 2009, April 10). In 2009, there were 6,033 reported cases of campylobacteriosis; however the CDC estimates that C. jejuni causes approximately 845,000 illnesses, 8,400 hospitalizations, and 76 deaths in the United States each year, according to a 2011 report.

For more on the risks of raw milk, see Real Raw Milk Facts Dot Com.

  • Mary

    One of the things I was wondering about was whether the bubble would burst on some of the claims as the raw milkies spread the word. And it seems to be the case. The reason they got away with their evangelizing was because so few people had been exposed to the other side.

    They should have been careful what they wished for.

  • Interestingly, about two years ago a friend of mine told me that they were customers of this great farmer in Pennsylvania where they were buying a variety of foods – including raw milk for themselves and their four kids. I showed them and asked them to reconsider serving at least their children raw milk. They read all the data on the site and watched the videos and made the decision that raw milk was not worth the alleged benefits.
    My friend called me this week after he heard about the Family Cow campylobacter outbreak. Guess who the great Pennsylvania farmer is? They still are his customer on non-raw milk products.

  • Avery

    Why must an otherwise decent guy like Ed Shank have to get caught sickening 30 or more people before conceding raw milk products are unsafe? It cannot be because nobody informed him beforehand of the risk. It cannot be because other vendors have never been caught sickening customers with raw milk. It can only be hubris on his part and on the part of WAPF and other raw milk hucksters who have no conscience, apparently. Honestly, Ed sounds like a nice guy but he pushed his luck too far this time and paying customers got more than they bargained for. What was the point of assuming such risk and how can his belated pangs of guilt undo the obvious damage he has done? A day late and a dollar short on the part of “the prudent man”. Now bring justice.

  • Mike

    I purchased raw milk from the family cow during the period in question and had no problems with the milk. If it is contaminated why didn’t I get sick. In fact the taste of the family cow’s milk puts pasteurized milk to shame. Anyone who drinks real milk can testify to this. A significant number of facts appear to be missing from this article. The state of PA as of the date of this article have had no positive test results disclosing bacteria of any type which was found in their samples. The state of Maryland in both of their samples found positive results. I do not want to make any insinuations here but the fact I didn’t get sick and PA has no positive results on their samples yet seems contradictory to the Maryland results. This sounds a little strange to me. There has also been a number of the same type of sicknesses going around but no link to raw milk. No mention of this in the article. I personally am some what skeptical of this whole situation. I have been drinking raw milk (or what I prefer to call it real milk just as the Lord has made it) for over 10 years and have seen a significant improvement in my arthritis while taking no other medication and as far as I know I have never been sick at all from raw/real milk. Pasteurized /homogenized milk is processed and as a result the benefits and nutritional value of the milk is greatly reduced. If you want more facts about raw milk go to and see the other side of the story.

  • Bethany

    I don’t think raw milk is any more unsafe than any other food item, as this blog addresses. Even pasteurized milk! But what the numbers don’t show is how many people contracted campylobacter directly from the milk, and how many contracted it from other family members because it is contagious, especially when sharing a bathroom. So the numbers of actual contamination from the milk are probably a lot lower. Which also accounts for the reason that hundreds drink the milk but the percentage of actual illness is very, very low. We still drink the milk… it tastes good and makes us feel good! I’d love to compare my family’s health to Mary or Avery’s!