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Consumer Advisory: Pennsylvania Health and Agriculture Departments Warn Consumers About Raw Milk Sold in Lawrence County
Date:2/20/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State Health Secretary Everette James today advised consumers who purchased raw milk from Dean Farms in New Castle, Lawrence County, doing business as Pasture Maid Creamery, LLC, to immediately discard the raw milk due to potential bacterial contamination. Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized.

Dean Farms sells directly to consumers who provide their own bottles. The business is not related to Dean's Dairy in Sharpsville, Mercer County, which produces pasteurized milk for supermarkets.

Recently, individuals who consumed raw milk purchased from Dean Farms were found to have gastrointestinal illness due to Campylobacter, a bacterial infection. Since January 23, a total of six confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection have been reported among raw milk drinkers in four unrelated households in western Pennsylvania. The investigation is ongoing.

The Department of Health today recommended the owner stop selling raw milk for human consumption, and the owner has agreed to stop selling at this time. In cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, the dairy is providing raw milk samples to be tested for bacterial pathogens.

Other action to ensure the safety of the public will depend upon the results of pending laboratory tests and the joint investigation by the Health and Agriculture departments.

The shelf-life for raw milk is about 14 days but can be longer if the milk is frozen. Freezing of the milk will not kill the Campylobacter bacteria.

Individuals who drank raw milk or ate other raw milk products made at home with raw milk purchased from Dean Farms of New Castle and Pasture Maid Creamery who become ill are advised to consult with their physician. If no illness occurred, it is not necessary to seek medical attention.

Campylobacter is a bacterial infection that affects the intestinal tract and can sometimes affect the bloodstream and other organs. It is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis, which can include diarrhea and vomiting. Approximately 1,300 confirmed cases of Campylobacter are reported each year in Pennsylvania.

Onset of illness usually occurs in two to five days after swallowing the bacteria. Patients often do not require specific medical treatment unless they become severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the intestines.

For more information about Campylobacter, visit the Department of Health at www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

    CONTACT:
    Stacy Kriedeman, Health
    717-787-1783

    Chris Ryder, Agriculture
    717-787-5085


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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