Confirmed: Tenn. outbreak traced to raw milk producer

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Tennessee officials have matched the strain of E. coli that sickened nine children in a raw milk outbreak to a Knox County, Tenn., dairy at the center of the case.

Last week, the Tennessee Department of Health announced its findings. The strain of E. coli found in the outbreak was matched to animal waste collected at McBee Dairy.  

“This outbreak points out, again, the serious risks associated with drinking unpasteurized or ‘raw’ milk,” Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner said in a statement. “While people with stronger immune systems may be able to overcome the bacteria found in raw milk, children, older people, pregnant women and those with health conditions can be seriously harmed by bacteria in non-pasteurized milk products and should not consume them.”

State Epidemiologist Dr. Tim Jones added that “milk from the healthiest-appearing cows in the cleanest dairy operations can still contain deadly microorganisms.

“Those who consume raw milk are playing Russian roulette with their health; the glass they drink today may not have deadly microorganisms, but the one they drink tomorrow may cause serious health problems or even death,” he advised.

Click here to read the press release.  

Dairy owner Marcie McBee said in an email to Food Safety News that the dairy has regular testing in place now that “will show us if we have clean milk.”

Even so, she said regular testing “still does not make the milk 100 percent safe, as no living food is 100 percent protected from having a bacteria enter it.”

McBee also blames the state in failing to inform them about what they could have been doing to prevent E. coli from getting into their milk.

“The health department has done nothing to help us improve or locate a problem here,” she said. “We have not been informed on any testing that we could have done or could incorporate to detect or prevent a problem.”

Read, “Tennessee E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Raw Milk Dairy.”

The outbreak sent five children to the hospital. One of cases was five-year-old Maddie Powell, who was hospitalized for nearly a month after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal kidney disease associated with severe E. coli infections. Powell was released from the hospital over the weekend.



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Ron    
OH  |  November, 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM

McBee blames the health department??? That is so wrong. It is impossible to milk cows and never get a fleck of manure in the milk. Period. So drinking raw milk is a gamble. And it is a very big gamble for children. I am going to repeat these very important words. “Those who consume raw milk are playing Russian roulette with their health; the glass they drink today may not have deadly microorganisms, but the one they drink tomorrow may cause serious health problems or even death,” he advised.

jeepergirl    
McHenry  |  November, 26, 2013 at 04:19 PM

From what I have seen and heard I believe the government (FDA) is not doing it's job in protecting the people. The big "Pharm" companies are runing the show...all in the name of profit. Most of the food out there isn't worth a dime, it's all full of fillers and all the vitamins & nutrients are removed by processing. Gee, I wonder why America is the most obese people in the world. Our government is run by money not the people. People are getting tired if the lies so they turnto "organic" or "health foods" or "natuarl foods" and when they do, the government comes up with some excuse to stop it because the money guys don't want to loose any of their profits. That's working for the people!


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