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Raw Milk Sickens 38 on East Coast

HARRISBURG, Pa.—The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that 38 people in four states have been sickened by raw milk contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria that was produced at The Family Cow farm in Chambersburg, Pa.

The farm voluntarily suspended raw milk production on Jan. 27, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health issued a consumer alert to discard any product purchased after Jan. 1. The packaged raw milk is sold under The Family Cow label in plastic gallon, half gallon, quart and pint containers. It is labeled as “raw milk."

Agriculture officials are awaiting test results from the raw milk samples that would link the outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni to the raw milk produced at the farm. The department confirmed three cases of Campylobacter infection in persons in Pennsylvania and three confirmed cases in Maryland, all of whom consumed raw milk from the farm. It’s legal in Pennsylvania to sell raw milk, and the state has 153 certified raw milk providers.

The debate over raw milk versus pasteurized milk has gained momentum over the past few years as consumers want the freedom to rebel against the industrialized by drinking locally grown, natural products but are being prevented from doing so by laws that prohibit the sale of raw milk.

Raw milk consumers don’t mind paying a premium price for the unpasteurized beverage because they believe it is a more healthful option because it contains more nutrients and has a creamier and richer taste. They also say cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream and sour cream made from raw milk tastes better than store-bought goods.

In November 2011, The California Department of Public Health issued a statewide recall and quarantine of raw milk products produced by Organic Pastures after five children were sickened with the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 after drinking unpasteurized milk produced by the dairy.

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