Raw Milk in the News

November 17, 2011

  • Mark McAfee’s Organic Pastures Raw Milk Recalled and Quarantined: On Tuesday, 11/15, Mark McAfee got word that his California dairy’s raw milk, which is drunk by about 75,000 people each day, is being recalled and quarantined (see McAfee’s second 11/16 comment on the above-linked page of David Gumpert’s The Complete Patient blog).
    Gumpert points out in an 11/17 update that “raw dairy, in particular, is often singled out for special attention, and special punishment” as compared to the sources of other outbreaks of foodborne illness, such as the recent cantaloupe outbreak.
    Organic Pastures (OPDC) is licensed for the sale of raw milk by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The milk is being recalled because five California children have been sickened by E. coli 0157:H7 over an eight week period, three of whom were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (The Complete Patient blog, 11/15). According to the CDFA, “the only common reported food exposure is unpasteurized (raw) milk from Organic Pastures dairy.”
    According to a The Complete Patient blog interview with McAfee, “all pathogen tests completed on the dairy’s products by the public health authorities and a private lab commissioned by OPDC have been negative. In addition[, McAfee says], ‘It has been reported to us by the California Department of Public Health that as of today all products collected from the ill patients have been negative for E. Coli O157:H7.’”
    On Wednesday, 11/16, OPDC filed an appeal with the CDFA “to lift the recall and quarantine for ten days ‘while samples of dairy products, and environmental testing is completed.’” The appeal implicates the “at least 140 cow share programs” in California that do not have CDFA licenses.
    The implication from a comment posted by McAfee today is that the appeal did not succeed. His comment explains, “CDFA handed us a Notice of Violation today with 14 things we need to correct prior to reinstatement…last week we were operating just fine.”
    In an update posted today (11/17) on The Complete Patient, Gumpert calls McAfee’s “inference that herdshare operations could be the source of the current E.coli O157:H7 outbreak… ill advised, inappropriate, and almost certainly wrong,” but adds that McAfee has “never avoided even the toughest questions” and that “he’s shown a genuine commitment to truly serious food safety standards.” See The Complete Patient for more news as it breaks.
  • “CDC Forced to Admit False Raw Milk Death Link After Misrepresenting Stats”: Prior to the above news breaking, it was reported by Activist Post (11/10) that the same farmer, McAfee, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the CDC and challenged them about “a reported death from Salmonella Typhimurium in California as a result of raw milk consumption.” McAfee finally received a response by email stating, “The death mentioned in an earlier email was from an unpasteurized dairy product, queso fresco, made from raw milk”– not from fluid raw milk.

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