November 1, 2014

California Raw Milk Quarantine Lifted at Dairy Linked to Campylobacter

California has lifted a statewide quarantine on raw milk products produced by Organic Pastures of Fresno County more than a week after it was imposed for Campylobacter contamination.

The raw milk products quarantine that started May 10 was imposed after the California Department of Public Health reported Campylobacter infections in at least 10 people who reported consuming raw milk products from Organic Pastures from January through April 30.

State officials tested and found Campylobacter jejuni organisms in six samples of the dairy’s raw cream, one sample of raw butter and four samples of cow manure from the milking herd.

In Sacramento late this week, California Department of Food and Agriculture Public Affairs agent Steve Lyle said Organic Pastures was required to meet all sanitation requirements and comply with food safety regulations under state law before the quarantine could be lifted. During the quarantine, the facility was prohibited from producing raw milk products for the retail market.

Campylobacter food poisoning causes diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever and cramping. Some people may have joint pain and swelling after infection and an estimate one in 1,000 Campylobacter patients develops a debilitating disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome that causes weakness and paralysis can occur several weeks after the initial illness.

This is not the first time Organic Pastures products have been linked to illness and the dairy quarantined. In November 2011, the dairy was put under quarantine when cases of E. coli 0157:H7 foodborne illnesses were linked to the dairy. Five children were sickened in that case. And in 2008, a quarantine order was issued when Campylobacter was found in raw cream made at the dairy.

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