Listeria Illness and Death Linked to Raw Milk From Pennsylvania Organic Farm

Two victims, one of whom died as a result, contracted listeria after drinking raw milk from Miller's Organic Farm in Pennsylvani
Listeria Illness and Death Linked to Raw Milk From Pennsylvania Organic Farm

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Despite some vocal supporters in the dairy industry, the CDC urges consumers to avoid raw milk, which is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness. 

Raw milk from Miller’s Organic Farm in Pennsylvania has been confirmed to be the source of the 2014 listeria outbreak that sickened one person and caused the death of another, the CDC has confirmed.

In November 2015, the FDA confirmed that a sample of Miller’s Organic chocolate milk, taken during a raw milk conference in California, tested positive for listeria. The CDC was then able to confirm that Miller’s Organic Farm had been the source of the disease.

Raw milk, also known as unpasteurized milk, has been championed by some farmers and cheesemakers as having a richer and more intense taste than pasteurized milk, but is less loved by food safety regulators.

According to the CDC, unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy products, and the FDA currently considers soft cheeses and other products made with raw milk to be “unsafe to eat.”

In a statement, the CDC reaffirmed its position on raw milk, urging consumers to avoid it as an issue of safety.

“Because listeria was recently found in raw milk produced by Miller’s Organic Farm, we are concerned that contaminated raw milk and other raw dairy products from this company could still be on the market and make people sick,” the CDC said. “We recommend that people drink and eat only pasteurized dairy products.”

Earlier this month, a group of West Virginia politicians celebrated the legalization of the sale and consumption of raw milk by drinking some of it — and then promptly contracted some sort of “stomach bug.” Health officials subsequently launched an official probe into the situation. 

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