Raw milk-linked outbreak prompts Kansas warning

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Kansas officials have issued a warning for raw milk consumers and producers following a Campylobacter outbreak linked to unpasteurized milk from one of the state’s dairies.

The outbreak, which was first confirmed in January, has now affected 18 people according to Food Safety News. This is the state’s third Campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk since 2007.

Now, officials from both the state’s Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Environment have issued a warning on the sale of raw milk and the dangers associated with consuming it. Raw milk can only be sold in the state through individual sales on the farm, and the only promotion can be farm signs. All raw milk containers must be labeled.

“While dairy producers can legally sell raw milk on farms directly to consumers, the practice is not recommended,” the joint release noted.

Officials also cited a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which found the rate of outbreaks caused by raw milk 150 times higher than those caused by pasteurized milk.

“Consuming raw milk is an unnecessary risk,” Kansas Department of Agriculture Dairy Inspection Program Manager George Blush said in the news release. “You cannot tell if milk is safe by just looking at, smelling or tasting it. Even milk from the cleanest dairies can pose risk without the pasteurization safeguard.”  

Raw milk supporters have had a tough year. In addition to the CDC study, another Campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk from a Pennsylvania dairy sickened more than 78 people, including a toddler. Another Pa. raw milk producer faced a federal court-granted injunction preventing him from distributing raw milk and raw milk products across state lines.   



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