Bacteria in raw milk spur Claravale Farm recall

Ron Garthwaite, co-owner of Claravale Farms, holds bottles of raw milk that is distributed to natural food stores in the area in this 2008 file photo.

San Benito County raw milk producer Claravale Farm initiated a mandatory recall after a state investigation found bottles of its unpasteurized product tested positive for Campylobacter.
According to the California Department of Public Health, which conducted the investigation, six Northern California residents have been diagnosed with the common bacterial infection, campylobacteriosis, from drinking raw milk produced at the Paicines dairy.
It is a statewide recall telling residents and retailers to dispose of Claravale products with a “MAR 28” expiration, according to the department.
“Consumers are strongly urged to dispose of any product remaining in their refrigerators with code dates of ‘MAR 28’ and earlier, and retailers are to pull those products immediately from their shelves,” according to the announcement.
The county agricultural commissioner’s office does not regulate raw milk products and was unaware of the recall when reached Tuesday, said Agricultural Commissioner Ron Ross. Owners of Claravale Farm could not be reached immediately for comment.
Raw milk is a highly debated product from cows, goats, sheep or other animals that has not been pasteurized, or heat treated, to kill harmful germs, according to the state health department.
A wide variety of germs that can make people sick have been found in raw milk that include brucella, campylobacter, listeria, mycobacterium bovis, salmonella, and shiga toxin-producing escherichia coli, including E. coli O157, according to the state department.
According to the CDPH: Campylobacteriosis may cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting within two to five days after exposure to the organism. Illness can last for up to a week or more and can be especially severe for those who have weakened or compromised immune systems, and for young children and the elderly. Although most people who get campylobacteriosis recover completely, some patients do suffer long-term effects, including arthritis and paralysis.
The FDA warns the following on its website:
According to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 1993 and 2006 more than 1,500 people in the United States became sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk. In addition, CDC reported that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy products.
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  1. Ridiculous! It is common and widely accepted that this bacteria exists within foods including chicken. The attempted actions from those who desire to have our precious dairies shut down is horrendous.

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