E. coli outbreak leads to raid of Tenn. dairy farm

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Raw milk Raw milk from a Knox County, Tenn., dairy is at the center of an E. coli outbreak that has sent at least three children to the hospital and led to a raid of the dairy.

As of Nov. 5, this number climbed to eight cases of E. coli illness among children, according to an update from U.S. Food Safety available here.

WATE TV News reports that deputies and officials from the Tennessee Health Department swarmed the McBee Dairy Farm in Mascot, Tenn., after the dairy’s raw milk was suspected in a local E. coli outbreak.

A cease-and-desist order was placed on the dairy pending further investigation.

Owner Marcie McBee points that she warns all of her customers about the risks involved with drinking raw milk.

"We were aware of it and our customers have all been made aware of it several times," she told the TV station. "Our goal is to keep our customers safe.”

Knox County Health Director Martha Buchanan says that a case of E. coli can go from mild to severe over the course of just a few days.

"In children, in particular, if they get E. coli 157 and the symptoms would be fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. They can kind of have a mild case and then in a few days they can get really sick," Buchanan said.

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WATE also reports the first batch of tests results from the dairy came back negative for E. coli bacteria. Results from more recent rounds of tests have yet to come in, as of Nov. 4.

Despite the initial negative results, officials have identified additional cases of E. coli infections. Read more.

E. coli can produce a toxin called Shiga, which can lead to severe illness. The infection can also cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be especially dangerous for people with compromised immune systems, such as children.

Raw milk has been at the center of several raw milk outbreaks this year, including one in Canada that killed a person and sickened nearly a dozen more in an E. coli outbreak linked to raw milk cheese. In March, 24 people in Alaska fell ill in a campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk, and Washington officials urged consumers in February to stop drinking raw milk after tests confirmed E. coli in raw milk from a local dairy.

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Gordon S Watson    
Burnaby British Columbia  |  November, 01, 2013 at 10:52 PM

meanwhile, in other news, 9 million people in America consumed REAL MILK today, with no illeffects. Many of those people's health being dramatically improved by the nutrition it contains, which is cooked out of the commercial stuff. 100s of thousands of people were poisoned by foods which are on retail store shelves = FDA approved. Media attention to raw milk is ridiculously disproportionate to actual risk of harm from consuming it

HI  |  November, 02, 2013 at 07:19 PM

this is so sad, Marcie Mcbee and her family do a wonderful thing. She got the E coli results in yesterday and they found none in her milk. I knew it all along.

WI Dairy Farmer    
November, 04, 2013 at 09:08 AM

Our family has been consuming raw milk for over 50 years with no ill effects. We have many neighbors who also drink their own raw milk with no problems. How do we know that milk isn't purposely contaminated to enhance the argument against drinking raw milk? We were once approached by an emergency room doctor about buying raw milk from us. Unfortunately we had to tell him it was not legal to sell raw milk. If it's so dangerous why is a physician looking for it? More questions than answers!

Johnny Stansell    
Texas  |  November, 04, 2013 at 09:21 AM

I expect a follow up article from Angela Bowman confirming or refuting milk as the source. Otherwise it's a smear of a dairy that may not be at fault and the agenda of the writer.

November, 04, 2013 at 09:37 AM

The life of just one child is worth 1 million times more than the all of your raw milk ignorance. Wake up.... raw milk is dangerous! Cy

Big Brother    
USA  |  November, 04, 2013 at 10:28 AM

I agree milk is dangerous! We need to close down all dairy farms and kill all the cows, because of the pollution of our lakes and rivers. China will provide us with a good clean food source. Dairy farmers are slitting their own throats. Talk about dumb farmers. As for me and my family we will sit with our glass of raw milk and watch the dairy farmers die.

EastTN  |  November, 04, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Raw milk is not dangerous. Improper handling of milk (or any other food product) is what is dangerous. The independent lab found no pathogens in the McBee's milk. Cooking the milk to death leaves it void of nutrition, so artificial "nutrients" are added back in after pasteurization. The human body does not absorb these artificial nutrients as efficiently as natural nutrients, not messed with by humans. Why is raw milk so much easier to digest? Many with dairy intolerance can consume raw milk with no ill effects! You can choose to consume cooked milk if that is what you prefer. You can also choose to consume raw spinach or peanut butter (both have been recalled within the last few years due to e. coli contamination). What you can't do is convince me that cooked milk is "better" due to being dead (especially since it already smells rotten), or that my choice to consume raw milk has made me unhealthy.

WI Dairy Farmer    
November, 04, 2013 at 01:08 PM

Are you seriously telling me that no child has ever gotten sick from pasteurized milk? Maybe we need to stop sales of peanut butter and spinach as well. Driving is dangerous but I bet you drive yourself to work every day. Seriously, live in the real world. God created milk and it was good!

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