Digital News Report – The California Department of Food and Agriculture has announced a statewide recall and quarantine of raw milk products that came from Organic Pastures of Fresno County. The recall and quarantine was announced after five children became ill from E. coli O157:H7 infection between August and October 2011. The California Department of Public Health notified the state’s food and agriculture government agency of the illnesses and gave the quarantine order.
The suspected source is believed to be from the unpasteurized or raw milk that the children consumed from Organic Pastures. All of the families involved had this as a common food source. The children were from all over the state – Contra Costa, Kings, Sacramento, and San Diego counties. Three out of the five children became seriously ill and were hospitalized to treat hemolytic uremic syndrome. This condition can lead to kidney failure. None of the children died.
The health department suspected the raw milk because it was reported to have been consumed by 100 percent of the sickened children. However, when the agencies tested the dairy’s raw milk supply, they did not find any E. coli 0157:H7.
The government agency will be inspecting the facility of Organic Pastures for any health risks throughout the entire operation, including the cows. In the mean time, raw milk, raw butter, raw cream, raw colostrums, and raw Qephor produced by Organic Pastures is not allowed in the retail marketplace until the state government agencies allows it. However, any of the Organic Pastures cheese that has been aged over 60 days is OK for sale.
Raw milk is unpasteurized milk. The majority of milk sold at stores has been pasteurized. The pasteurization process kills germs. However, some people believe that the raw milk offers better nutrition than pasteurized milk. In California, if the milk is raw or unpasteurized the seller must put a warning label on the product.
Common symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection are stomach cramps, and diarrhea that can often be bloody. The infected person usually recovers in a week. Some complications can occur, usually with people who are at a higher risk. The elderly, the very young, and those with a weakened immune system have a higher risk for developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which could lead to kidney failure. Those that suspect that they may have been infected with the E. Coli O157:H7 bacteria, should seek proper medical attention.
By: Jason Chang