According to Gena Terlizzi of the Office of Public Information at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), there are now 14 lab-confirmed cases of E. coli 0157:H7 in Missouri residents.
She stated, “Of the 14 confirmed cases of E. coli 0157:H7, 7 of these individuals consumed raw milk from the same farm in Howard County. The remaining 7 individuals with confirmed E. coli infections reported that they did not consume raw dairy from this farm prior to the onset of the illness.”
The owner of the farm has since discontinued the sale of raw dairy products.
Ms. Terlizzi continued, “The State Public Health Laboratory has analyzed 8 food samples associated with products from the farm. All 8 of those samples have tested negative for E. coli O157:H7. DHSS continues to follow-up on all cases to determine common exposure sources between them.”
Public health officials remind the public that it is an unnecessary risk to consume raw milk that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful germs such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. The role of pasteurization is to eliminate disease-causing germs that may have contaminated the milk and provide protection for consumers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study in February that showed raw milk has a outbreak rate 150 times the rate of pasteurized milk. And that 75% of the raw milk outbreaks occurred in the 21 states where it is legal to sell raw milk products.