Texas Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Raw Milk

Three children and one adult have fallen seriously ill with <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">Salmonella after drinking raw milk, Texas state officials just announced, said WFAA. As we’ve noted, more and more consumers are eating organically, minimizing consumption of processed foods, purchasing foods from food cooperatives and farmers markets, and even growing their own foods, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.

While consuming foods with less processing tends to present a healthier choice, raw milk dangers exist when consuming milk and milk products that have not gone through the pasteurization process, notes the CDC. Pasteurization occurs when milk is briefly heated at high temperatures, which will kill most Foodborne Bacteria such as, Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, and Campylobacter.

Mary Chiles, 57, of Dallas, survived a life-threatening Salmonella infection tracked to a small glass of raw milk she drank about two months ago, said WFAA. “It went directly to my blood,” she said, quoted WFAA. “I didn’t have vomiting or diarrhea, just a fever,” she added, quoted WFAA, which noted that Chiles’ fever hit 105 degrees. Chiles tried a little milk on a recommendation by a friend who said that all-natural, unpasteurized milk is healthier, wrote WFAA. Chiles was hospitalized for six days and in a nursing home for nine.

That milk came from Lavon Farms in Plano. Lavon has been banned from selling raw milk as tests are being conducted, noted WFAA. The other North Texas Salmonella cases were not linked to the same dairy farm. Todd Moore, Lavon Farm owner told News 8 it sold thousands of gallons of raw milk. WFAA pointed out that the type of raw milk involved with this Salmonella outbreak could become even easier to purchase because, on Wednesday Texas lawmakers held a hearing on legislation—House Bill 75 (HB 75)—to ease unpasteurized milk restrictions, said WFAA.

Meanwhile, the Texas Medical Association and the Dallas County Health Department have issued alerts concerning possible risks with consuming unpasteurized products. “We’re going to go with the CDC recommendations that individuals not partake of this milk,” said Zachary Thompson, director of the Dallas County Health Department, quoted WFAA.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), raw milk is unpasteurized milk from hoofed mammals, such as cows, sheep, or goats, that may contain a wide variety of harmful bacteria—Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, Campylobacter, and Brucella, to name just some—and may cause foodborne illness, even death. For decades, public health authorities, including the FDA and CDC, have expressed concerns about the hazards of drinking raw milk.

Since 1987, the FDA has required all milk packaged for human consumption be pasteurized before delivery into interstate commerce. The FDA’s pasteurization requirement applies to other milk products, with the exception of some aged cheeses. The CDC points out that, prior to pasteurization, raw milk was a conduit for a number of bacteria, including those that cause tuberculosis, diphtheria, severe streptococcal infections, typhoid fever, and other foodborne infections. Raw milk-related illnesses were responsible for a number of fatalities annually, especially of young children, said the CDC. In the 1900s, mothers recognizing the risks of drinking raw milk, began boiling their milk.

A number of studies have revealed that pasteurization does not result in significant changes to milk’s nutritional value, and maintains milk’s many proteins, carbohydrates, and nutrients, noted the CDC. Heating does minimally affect some vitamins—thiamine, B12, and C—but milk is not a significant source of these, added the CDC. The FDA insists pasteurization destroys harmful bacteria without significantly changing milk’s nutritional value.

According to earlier CDC reports, raw milk or raw milk products were implicated in 45 outbreaks and over 1,000 illnesses and two deaths in the U.S. during 1998-2005; in 1938, milk was the cause of 25 percent of all food- and water-related sickness. Universal pasteurization—long considered one of the most successful public health endeavors of the last century—saw that number drop to one percent by 1993. Because not all cases of food borne illness are recognized and reported, the actual number is likely is greater. Of note, it is illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption in 22 states and the FDA bans sales of raw milk across state lines.

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