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10 Sickened by Raw Milk in California

Raw milk products have been recalled

Flickr/kthreadRaw milk products have been recalled

Ten California residents have come down with food poisoning -- Campylobacter bacteria infections, to be exact -- after consuming raw milk produced by Fresno County-based Organic Pastures.

Raw milk, raw skim milk (non-fat), raw cream and raw butter produced by the dairy have been recalled and are subject to a quarantine order imposed by California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Whiteford, Food Safety News reports. The vet issued the order after Organic Pastures raw cream tested positive for Campylobacter, a bacteria found in fecal matter.

"Consumers are strongly urged to dispose of any Organic Pastures products of these types remaining in their refrigerators, and retailers are to pull those products immediately from their shelves," public health officials wrote in a statement.

According to the state health department, six of the 10 people sickened are under 18. The youngest is 9 months and the oldest is 38 years old. They were infected from January through April 30. The cases reside in Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara counties.

Organic Pastures has been linked to several past outbreaks of pathogen infection and recalled its unpasteurized dairy products for fecal-pathogen contamination in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011. In the 2006 E.coli outbreak, two children experienced kidney failure.

Just this past November, the state ordered a recall of Organic Pastures raw milk products and placed the farm on quarantine after five boys who drank unpasteurized milk from the dairy were infected with E.coli, three of whom were hospitalized with kidney failure.

This is the sixth outbreak in the U.S. associated with unpasteurized dairy products since the start of 2012, according to Food Safety News. At least 18 people have been sickened by Campylobacter from raw goat milk sold in Kansas, 80 people became ill from Campylobacter-contaminated raw cow milk in Pennsylvania, and nine were infected by Campylobacter from raw milk products sold by a San Benito County, Calif. dairy. Fourteen E.coli infections have been linked to raw cow milk in central Missouri, and a raw milk outbreak in Oregon has sickened 19 people with E.coli infections, one with Cryptosporidium and one with Campylobacter.

According to the state health department, symptoms of campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. Illness usually occurs two to five days after exposure and lasts about a week. A small percentage of people may have joint pain and swelling after infection. In addition, a rare disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome that causes weakness and paralysis can occur several weeks after the initial illness.

Maybe that Louis Pasteur guy was onto something.


Follow Samantha Bonar @samanthabonar.