Written by Taylor Smith | Healthy Magazine
According to a recent statement released by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, 45 people contracted campylobacteriosis, a common bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever, from consuming raw milk.
All 45 cases are thought to stem from raw milk or cream purchased from the Ropelato Dairy in Weber County. While most of those taken ill were from nearby areas in Utah, at least two of the group were from California and Idaho.
“What we’ve discovered is that an employee had not been thoroughly cleaning the udders of the cows,” Larry Lewis with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food told Utah’s local NBC affiliate KSL. “That is introducing contamination, manure and feces that are in that area into the milk, which is a major problem.”
Because of these findings and other tests, inspectors suspended the dairy’s license to sell raw milk on August 4.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that campylobacteriosis is a rather common, affecting over 1.3 million Americans every year. In most cases the illness only lasts about a week, and some infected people will show no symptoms whatsoever. People with weakened immune systems, like infants or the elderly, are at a greater risk for serious infection, but most healthy adults will recover without treatment. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t cause for concern, though.
According to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, there have been 14 documented outbreaks of campylobacteriosis associated with raw milk in Utah since 2009, with more than 200 people becoming ill.
“In some severe cases, the illness can lead to complications, including paralysis and death,” Utah epidemiologist Kenneth Davis said.
Although, the pasteurization process can affect a few of the vitamins like thiamine, vitamin B12 and vitamin C, the CDC says that it “does not significantly change the nutritional value.” The brief heating process does, however, kill harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and campylobacter.
Ultimately, if you prefer raw milk over processed milk, the CDC and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food suggest that you proceed with extreme caution and find dairies with the best sanitation standards and record of contamination-free products.