June 3, 2023

Campylobacter Raw Milk #3 For Family Cow in PA

For the third time in 20 months, a raw milk Campylobacter outbreak has been associated with The Family Cow farm in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Two people who consumed raw milk from the farm have confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection, called campylobacteriosis, according to Pennsylvania health officials. The farm has stopped selling raw milk while the investigation is pending.

Milking a Cow OutsideIn January 2012, the farm was the source of the largest raw milk outbreak in Pennsylvania history. Several people were hospitalized. In May, of this year raw milk for the farm was again linked to an outbreak. Campylobacter in the raw milk was the source of each outbreak.

After receiving a complaint from a consumer, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture went to the farm on 3854 Olde Scotland Road and collected samples of raw milk on July 29, 2013. Positive test results for Campylobacter were confirmed on Monday, Aug. 5.

The potentially contaminated raw milk is sold under The Family Cow label in plastic gallon, half gallon, quart and pint containers. It is labeled “raw milk.” It was distributed directly to consumers through on-farm sales,  drop off locations and retail stores around Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, and south-central Pennsylvania.

Consumers who have this milk should not drink it. Symptoms of a Campylobacter infection, which usually develop two to five days after exposure, include diarrhea and vomiting.

Edwin Shank, the owner of the farm, installed an on-site testing area on the farm after the first outbreak. In a Facebook posting he disputes the state’s findings.  He says he sent a sample taken from the same shelf as the sample the agriculture department due to an independent third-party lab whose name he is not releasing to “protect” them.  “The test result from our third-party lab came back this morning just ahead of PDA’s and it is negative for campylobacter. Same milk, same date… But our third-party pathogen-free test does not really matter to the state. They still go by theirs as the official. ”

What Shank does not mention, is that his negative test result doesn’t disprove the state’s positive test. It only takes a small amount of Campylobacter bacteria to contaminate milk and they aren’t mixed in equal parts throughout it.

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