Published Date: 2007-08-03 18:00:12
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Campylobacteriosis, unpasteurized milk - USA (GA)
Archive Number: 20070803.2520
CAMPYLOBACTERIOSIS, UNPASTEURIZED MILK - USA (GEORGIA)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Mon 23 Jul 2007
Source: Atlanta (GA) Journal-Constitution [edited]
Raw milk sold as pet food sickened 3 northwest Georgia families who
drank the milk this summer, sending at least one child to the
hospital, health officials said Mon 23 Jul 2007.
The Murray County families were sickened by campylobacteriosis, one
of the most common causes of foodborne illness, said Jennifer Moorer,
a spokeswoman for the North Georgia Health District. All of the
patients have since recovered, she said.
One incident occurred in early June 2007 and another in early July
2007. A health department investigation led to a farm selling
unpasteurized milk labeled as pet food. But often, such milk is
bought for human consumption. A small but growing movement advocates
drinking raw milk, saying that it provides more nutrients and is
healthier than pasteurized milk.
Medical experts, including the FDA and the state Division of Public
Health, say that drinking raw milk is dangerous because it can harbor
harmful bacteria such as _Salmonella_ and _E. coli_ O157:H7. There
were 45 outbreaks of foodborne illness tied to raw milk between 1998
and 2005, with 1007 illnesses and 2 deaths, according to the CDC.
"It's a farm. It's not a sterile environment," says Ray King,
environmental health director for the North Georgia Health District.
"Nothing is for certain unless the milk is pasteurized to make sure
it's clean and doesn't have any pathogenic organisms."
Unpasteurized milk cannot be sold for human consumption in Georgia
but can be sold as pet food. Some states allow the sale of raw milk.
Advocates are pressing for changes to laws in other states, including
Georgia, to permit the sale.
The FDA bans the sale of raw milk for interstate commerce, but leaves
it up to states to decide how to regulate the product within their borders.
[Byline: Elizabeth Lee]
[This paragraph is adapted from ProMED-mail post E. coli O157,
unpasteurized milk, 2005 - USA (WA) 20070302.0741:
"Raw milk is a well-documented cause of enteric infections and was
1st recognized as such about 100 years ago. Pathogens that infect
humans, including _Campylobacter_, are shed in the feces of cows and
can contaminate milk during the milking process. Using standard
hygiene practices during milking (such as washing hands, keeping
equipment clean, and keeping the milking area separated from other
areas) can reduce but not eliminate the risk for milk contamination.
Pasteurization decreases the number of pathogenic organisms, prevents
transmission of pathogens, and has been determined to improve the
safety of raw milk more than other measures, including certification
of raw milk. Because raw milk certification has failed to prevent
many raw milk-associated infections in the past, consumers should not
assume that certified raw milk is free of pathogens. To prevent
salmonella and other infections, consumers should not drink raw milk."
This statement is true whether the consumer has purchased the
product, been given it free, partially owns the cow or buys the milk
"intended" to be fed to pets.
Among the pathogens contaminating unpasteurized (or raw) milk are:
Zoonotic organisms such as _Brucella abortus_, _Brucella melitensis_,
_Mycobacterium bovis_, _Salmonella_ species, _Listeria
monocytogenes_, _Campylobacter_ species, _Yersinia_ species,
_Coxiella burnetii_, _E. coli_ O157:H7 and even the rabies virus;
Non-zoonotic organisms such as _Streptococcus pyogenes_, _Salmonella_
Typhi, _Corynebacterium diphtheriae_, _Shigella_ species,
_Salmonella_ Paratyphi A, _Salmonella_ Paratyphi B, enterotoxins from
_Staphylococcus aureus_, and hepatitis A.
People who consume unpasteurized milk and milk products might believe
that these products taste better, provide greater nutrition than
pasteurized products, and/or decrease the risk for various medical
conditions (1), but the benefits of consuming unpasteurized milk and
milk products have never been validated scientifically (2).
Just as it is with the transfusion of human blood, ingestion of
unpasteurized milk is a hazard that can result in illness severe
enough to be fatal.
1. Headrick ML, Badgaleh T, Klontz KC, Werner SB. Profile of raw milk
consumers in California. Public Health Rep 1997; 112: 418-22.
2. Potter ME, Kaufmann AF, Blake PA, Feldman RA. Unpasteurized milk:
the hazards of a health fetish. JAMA 1984; 252: 2048-52.
Murray County is in northern Georgia and can be seen on a map at:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_County,_Georgia>. - Mod.LL]