Raw milk products produced by Organic Pastures of Fresno County have been released from a statewide quarantine that began May 10. CDFA imposed the quarantine in response to the detection of campylobacter bacteria, and notification from the California Department of Public Health of reported campylobacter food-borne illnesses in persons consuming Organic Pastures raw milk. CDPH also isolated Campylobacter jejuni from six samples of the dairy’s raw cream, one sample of raw butter and four samples of cow manure from the milking herd.
From January through April 30, 2012, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports that at least 10 people with campylobacter infection were identified throughout California and reported consuming Organic Pastures raw milk prior to illness onset. Their median age is 11.5 years, with six under 18. The age range is nine months to 38 years. They are residents of Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara counties. None of the patients have been hospitalized, and there have been no deaths.
It is becoming a harder for Organic Pastures to defend raw milk so vehemently after the dairy has now been linked to 4 outbreaks and 6 recalls.
In 2006, three strains of E. coli O157:H7 were cultured from Organic Pastures’ heifers’ feces. That same year, the dairy was quarantined after six children became ill with E. coli infections – two with hemolytic uremic syndrome – linked to its raw milk.
In 2007, fifty strains of Campylobacter jejuni plus Campylobacter coli, Campylobacter fetus, Campylobacter hyointetinalis, and Campylobacter lari were cultured from OPDC dairy cow feces after eight people were sickened. See the state report here.
In 2007, Listeria monocytogenes was cultured from Organic Pastures Grade A raw cream.
In 2008, Campylobacter was cultured from Organic Pastures Grade A raw cream.
In November 2011, a cluster of five young children with Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 infection with matching pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns was identified. All five children reported drinking commercially available raw (unpasteurized) milk from a single dairy (Organic Pastures) and had no other common exposures. The epidemiological findings led to a quarantine and recall of all Organic Pastures products except cheese aged more than 60 days. Environmental samples collected at Organic Pastures yielded E. coli O157:H7 isolates that had PFGE patterns indistinguishable from the patient isolates.