Campylobacter illnesses linked to raw milk

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Raw milk has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria
Raw milk has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria

Related tags: Raw milk, Milk

Raw milk purchased at Ropelato Dairy in Utah has been linked to 45 Campylobacter illnesses.

The dairy in Weber County has had its license to sell raw milk suspended after several tests of samples were positive for Campylobacter.

Larry Lewis, public information officer, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, said: “Inspectors have repeatedly visited the dairy, reviewing safety procedures, working with the owner to determine the source of the problem and helping devise corrective actions.”

Utah public health officials said the dairy has been cooperative in working with the inspectors, and will be allowed to resume raw milk sales as soon as the milk consistently passes safety tests.

Raw milk is from cows, goats or sheep that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria

Onset dates range from May 9 to July 21, and range in age from two to 74 years.

Cases have been reported from: Cache, Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber counties. Two cases occurred in out of state residents from California and Idaho.

Since 2009, there have been 14 documented outbreaks of Campylobacter infection associated with raw milk consumption in Utah, with more than 200 people becoming ill.

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Posted by Mike Grim,

Do you have any follow up information? Does the state have any proof these illnesses were caused by raw milk? What milk tested positive? Was it milk or cream? Did it come from the bulk tank or a bottle? Was there any independent tests made? Were all 45 people tested for campylobacter? How many non-raw milk drinkers were sick in the area? Is the dairy back in business? How many negative tests were there during this two and a half month outbreak? How many positives tests were there before the milk was clear? How many raw milk customer does this dairy have or how many gallons of raw drinking milk did the dairy sell during the 21/2 month outbreak?

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Does raw milk actually have a negative risk factor?

Posted by Mike Grim,

According to these 2 US government studies raw milk may actually have a negative risk factor.

1. An estimated 17.3% of raw milk consumers in Minnesota may have acquired an illness caused by 1 of these enteric pathogens during the 10-year study period. (That's 1.7% per year.) or (1 in 59)
<cdc gov pdf>

2. About 48 million people (That's 15% per year or 1 in 6 Americans) get sick and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases, according new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
<cdc gov>

When you look at these 2 studies you can see that the US Center for Disease Control has inadvertently demonstrated that people who don't drink raw milk are 9 times more likely to contract a so called foodborne illness than people that do. In other words raw milk may be preventing 1.3 million cases of foodborne disease and 90 deaths every year in the US. That's better than a “zero risk”. That's a negative risk factor. Isn't it?
To date, 45 cases of Campylobacter infection have been reported in people who indicated that they consumed raw milk in the week before illness began. Cases have been reported from: Cache, Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber counties. Two cases occurred in out of state residents from California and Idaho. Onset dates range from May 9, 2014 to July 21, 2014. The cases range in age from two to 74 years.
The dairy has been very cooperative in working with the inspectors, and will be allowed to resume raw milk sales as soon as the milk consistently passes safety tests.
Campylobacter infections are among the most common bacterial infections in humans. They produce both diarrheal and systemic illnesses. In industrialized regions, enteric Campylobacter infections produce an inflammatory, sometimes bloody, diarrhea or dysentery syndrome.
Campylobacter jejuni is the most common cause of community-acquired inflammatory enteritis.
An estimated 2 million cases of Campylobacter enteritis occur annually, accounting for 5-7% of cases of gastroenteritis with more cases happening during the summer months. Campylobacter organisms have a large animal reservoir, with up to 100% of poultry, including chickens, turkeys, and waterfowl having asymptomatic intestinal infections.
Campylobacter infections are usually self-limited and rarely cause mortality. Almost all persons infected with Campylobacter recover completely within two to five days without any specific treatment. Patients should drink extra fluids as long as the diarrhea lasts. Antimicrobial therapy is warranted only for patients with severe disease or those at high risk for severe disease, such as those with immune systems severely weakened from medications or other illnesses.
The known routes of Campylobacter transmission include fecal-oral, person-to-person sexual contact, poultry, and contaminated water supplies. Exposure to sick pets, especially puppies, has also been associated with Campylobacter outbreaks.
Transmission of Campylobacter organisms to humans usually occurs via infected animals and their food products. Chickens may account for 50-70% of human Campylobacter infections. Most colonized animals develop a lifelong carrier state.
Campylobacter species are sensitive to hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and antacid treatment can reduce the amount of inoculum needed to cause disease.
Normal human flora(commensal intestinal microflora):
Campylobacter spp - Large intestine
Campylobacter sputorum - Mouth
Campylobacter upsaliensis -
Campylobacter sputorum - Nasopharynx
Campylobacter pylori - human gastric mucosa
Campylobacter coli - General distribution - In humans and animals, it usually takes up a commensal relationship, living inside the intestines while causing no harm to the species.

Campylobacter upsaliensis can cause campylobacteriosis. It can be found in cats and dogs.

In 2011, Campylobacter was found on 47% of raw chicken samples bought in grocery stores and tested through the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System.

At least a dozen species of Campylobacter have been implicated in human disease, with C. jejuni and C. coli the most common. C. fetus is a cause of spontaneous abortions in cattle and sheep, as well as an opportunistic pathogen in humans.

Campylobacter enteritis represents a risk factor for the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) via unknown mechanisms. As IBD patients exhibit inflammatory responses to their commensal intestinal microflora, factors that induce translocation of commensal bacteria across the intestinal epithelium may contribute to IBD pathogenesis.

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