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Food Safety News

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Utah Campylobacter Outbreak Traced to Raw Milk

Late last week, Food Safety News reported that a Salmonella outbreak in Utah had been linked to contaminated raw milk. So far, the Utah Department of Health said Sunday, six people have tested positive for Salmonella.  

The Utah Department of Health also confirmed Sunday that raw milk was suspected in another, unrelated outbreak, this time involving Campylobacter.  So far, nine people have been sickened in Weber, Davis and Cache Counties.  All of the victims reported drinking raw milk (unpasteurized milk) purchased at local vendors licensed to sell raw milk in the State of Utah. 

According to Utah health officials, coliform testing done on milk from the dairy involved in the outbreak came back high for coliform counts.  High coliform counts may be linked to the presence of disease-causing pathogens, such as Campylobacter, in the milk.

Julia Hall, a spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Health, confirmed that Ropelato Dairy was the source of the Campylobacter outbreak. She told Food Safety News that further tests are being conducted on the milk, and the dairy has not yet been authorized to resume selling raw milk.  

Bob Ropelato, co-owner of Ropelato Dairy, told the Standard-Examiner Monday that he stopped selling raw milk after hearing of one person getting sick.  Ropelato confirmed the dairy is not currently selling raw milk, and in fact may discontinue the sale of raw milk at Ropelato Dairy altogether.  

The reason he sold it in the first place, Ropelato said, was that many of his customers believe raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized milk so the demand was there to provide it.

But Glen Kinney, Weber-Morgan Health Department epidemiologist, disagreed.

“Pasteurization, or heating the milk to kill bacteria, destroys no more enzymes or proteins than stomach acid does,” he said.    

© Food Safety News
  • Peggy Boone

    Sure, but it changes the molecules’ makeup. Many people are lactose intolerant on the pasteurized milk.