Got raw milk? State cracks down on sellers after four buyers get sick

Got raw milk? State cracks down on sellers after four buyers get sick

The Strib reports that four people got sick from unpasteurized milk tainted with E. coli and that the Mn Dept of Ag will likely crack down on illegal raw milk sales.

State epidemiologist Richard Danilla and staff traced the milk that made three people sick to Hartmann dairy farm near Gibbon, Minn., but have not yet linked the fourth case to the same farm. One victim was not hospitalized and two were hospitalized and released, but the fourth victim is a toddler who remains hospitalized and in serious condition. The Ag Dept. recommends that consumers dispose of any dairy products purchased from the Hartmann Dairy or M.O.M.s (Minnesota Organic Milk) labels.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, have warned that raw milk carries a risk of disease, but, recently, interest in the product has been growing among those who believe pasteurization reduces milk's helpful bacteria and beneficial nutrients.

Nine states allow retail sale of raw milk. Minnesota law, like that of 19 other states, limits the sale of raw milk except for "occasional" on-farm purchases. Int the past, the Ag Dept seems to have looked the other way when buying clubs have stretched the law by arranging drop-sites for buyers, but now they are "looking at taking a more proactive role in the investigation process," according to an AP report.

But if the Ag Dept can really only crack down with the help of county legal departments. The Strib reports that the department has turned in at least one recent raw milk case to Hennepin County prosecutors, who declined to pursue charges.

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