Lab tests link raw milk contamination to illnesses

For immediate release: October 6, 2017  (17-142)

Contacts: Liz Coleman, Environmental Public Health Office  360-481-2016
               Jessica Baggett, Disease Control and Health Statistics  360-338-5630

Lab tests link raw milk contamination to illnesses  

OLYMPIA – Lab results confirmed the Salmonella strain recently found in Pride & Joy Dairy organic raw milk matches the strain that hospitalized two Washington residents in January. Health officials are urging consumers not to drink Pride & Joy Dairy organic raw milk in any container size or sell-by date.

“Unpasteurized ‘raw’ milk can carry harmful bacteria and germs. Foodborne illnesses are possible from many different foods; however, raw milk is one of the riskiest,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, Washington state communicable disease epidemiologist.

The unique strain identified in the illnesses and the recent dairy sample, Salmonella Dublin, has previously been found among cattle and cattle products, including beef and raw dairy. Symptoms can include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, the infection can be fatal.

Infants, young children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with a weakened immune system are at greatest risk. More information on the health risks of drinking raw milk can be found on the Washington State Department of Health website.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, states that allow the sale of raw milk have more raw milk-related illness outbreaks than states that prohibit raw milk sales. The production of raw milk in Washington is regulated by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

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