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Health and Agriculture Departments Warn Consumers About Raw Milk Sold in Montgomery County

Saturday, September 13, 2008 General News J E 4
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HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 12 State Health Secretary Dr. Calvin B. Johnson today advised consumers who purchased raw milk from Hendricks Farm & Dairy of Telford, Montgomery County, to immediately discard the raw milk and any items made with the raw milk due to potential bacterial contamination. Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized.



Recently, individuals who consumed raw milk purchased from the dairy were found to have gastrointestinal illness due to Campylobacter, a bacterial infection. Since September 1, a total of seven confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection have been reported among raw milk drinkers in seven unrelated households in Pennsylvania and a neighboring state. Other individuals in these households have also experienced similar gastrointestinal illness. The investigation is ongoing.



The Department of Agriculture today suspended the farm's raw milk permit and instructed the owner to stop selling raw milk for human consumption until the permit is reinstated. The Department of Agriculture will require two raw milk samples drawn at least one day apart to be tested negative for bacterial pathogens before raw milk sales may resume.



Other action to ensure the safety of the public will depend upon the results of pending laboratory tests and the joint investigation by the Health and Agriculture departments.



The shelf-life for raw milk is about 14 days but can be longer if the milk is frozen. Freezing of the milk will not kill the Campylobacter bacteria.



Individuals who drank raw milk or ate other raw milk products purchased from Hendricks Farm & Dairy and became ill are advised to consult with their physician. If no illness occurred, it is not necessary to seek medical attention.



Campylobacter is a bacterial infection that affects the intestinal tract and can sometimes affect the bloodstream and other organs. It is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis, which can include diarrhea and vomiting. Approximately 1,300 confirmed cases of Campylobacter are reported each year in Pennsylvania.



Onset of illness usually occurs in 2 to 5 days after swallowing the bacteria. Patients often do not require specific medical treatment unless they become severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the intestines. People with severe diarrhea may require rehydration, often with intravenous fluids.



For more information about Campylobacter, visit the Department of Health at www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.



CONTACT: Holli Senior, Health

(717) 787-1783



Christopher Ryder, Agriculture

(717) 503-0035 (cell)





SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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