The state of California is investigating Claravale Farm for the possibility that its raw milk was contaminated with Campylobacter. Last week, the dairy stopped distributing its products to the stores that sell it. Raw milk and raw milk products are legally available in California.
Food Poisoning Bulletin contacted the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and was told in an email from Information Officer Ralph Montano that:
CDPH is aware that Claravale Farms voluntarily stopped distributing its raw milk products last week. CDPH is working with local health departments on reported illnesses where raw milk was consumed prior to onset of illness. However, the investigation is ongoing, therefore we cannot provide the number of reported illnesses at this time. More than one bacterial agent causing gastrointestinal illness is being investigated, including campylobacter.
Due to the nature of the investigation the locations of the reported illnesses cannot be provided. CDPH continuously communicates and coordinates with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) on all matters related to dairy product safety.
Customers may still have some of the products in their home refrigerators, since the milk can be stored for several days. The stores that sell the milk are all over the state, including outlets in Sacarmento, San Fransisco, Fresno, and San Diego.
Campylobacter is a common bacteria that can be found in raw milk and raw milk products. It gets into milk if the cow is infected with the bacteria, or if manure contaminates the milk.
Claravale Farm has not had an outbreak up to this point in time. The farm has been in business since 1927. Another raw milk farm in California, Organic Pastures, was linked to an E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak last year.
For more information on raw milk sales in California, visit the state’s page on Raw Milk and Raw Dairy Products.