August 9, 2022

Organic Pastures Released from California Quarantine

Organic Pastures, California’s largest producer of raw milk, has been released from a statewide quarantine that began November 15 after raw milk from the diary was linked to an E.coli outbreak that sickened five children, three of whom required hospitalization for kidney damage.

Milking CowsWith the exception of raw colostrum, the recall and quarantine on all raw milk products produced by Organic Pastures has been lifted, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CFDA) announced in a December 16 statement. Before the quarantine could be lifted, the facility was required to meet all sanitation requirements and comply with food safety regulations under state law, CFDA said.

The sale of raw milk, which is milk that has not pasteurized, is legal in California but it must be sold in containers bearing the following warning:

“Warning – raw (unpasteurized) milk and raw milk dairy products may contain disease-causing micro-organisms. Persons at highest risk of disease from these organisms include newborns and infants; the elderly; pregnant women; those taking corticosteroids, antibiotics or antacids; and those having chronic illnesses or other conditions that weaken their immunity.”

Between August and October 2011, California health officials identified a cluster of five children who were all infected with the same strain of E. coli O157:H7. The families of the stricken children reside in Contra Costa, Kings, Sacramento, and San Diego counties.

Through interviews, state health officials determined that the only common food exposure the children shared was raw milk from the dairy. Three of the children were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure. There have been no deaths.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea. Young children and the elderly are at highest risk for a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS, which includes kidney failure. Anyone who develops E.coli symptoms after drinking raw milk or eating raw milk products should see a health care provider.

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