Six illnesses in Pennsylvania and Maryland have been linked to possible contamination of raw milk distributed at a Chamberburg, Pa. store. The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports that all of reported illnesses have been confirmed as Campylobacter infections.
Health officials have now focused their attention on the Family Cow store in Chambersburg. The Department of Agriculture is currently waiting for test results from raw milk samples, and the farm has voluntarily suspended raw milk production.
A formal recall has not announced, but officials have urged consumers to discard any product purchased after Jan. 1. The self-life of raw milk is about 10 days but can be longer if frozen. Freezing raw milk will not necessarily kill the Campylobacter bacteria.
According to the Family Cow store website, the store voluntarily goes beyond the state requirements for pathogen testing of milk.
“We do this extra testing for your peace of mind, the safety of your families and out of abundance of caution. Pathogen testing is tedious and expensive. It would be easier and cheaper to only test at the state required minimum,” the website states. "When it comes to your family's safety, it's not the government's standards that we are trying to live up to it's yours. We have faith that you will appreciate our caution, honesty, transparency and forthrightness."
A Department of Health fact sheet states that Campylobacteriosis is an infection that affects the intestinal tract and, in rare cases, the bloodstream. It is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis, which can include diarrhea and vomiting.
Nearly 1,300 confirmed cases of Campylobacter are reported in Pennsylvania each year. The Maryland Department of Health reported that the state reported nearly 600 Campylobacter infections in 2011.