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E. coli Traced to Raw Milk from Minnesota Dairy

On Wednesday, Minnesota state health officials announced that they have linked three cases of E. coli O157:H7 illness associated with raw milk from a dairy farm located in Gibbon, MN.  The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) urged consumers who may have purchased milk from the Hartmann Dairy Farm, otherwise known as M.O.M’s, to discard the product and not drink it.

According to the MDH press release, the milk products may be labeled organic and consumers may be unaware that the milk has not been pasteurized.  Officials also urged consumers not to eat cheese, ice cream, or other dairy products from the farm as they may have been made from unpasteurized raw milk.

Officials urged people who have developed symptoms after consuming unpasteurized milk to seek immediate medical attention.  Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7, include stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bloody diarrhea.  Typically, people become sick two to five days after ingesting contaminated foods.  

E. coli O157:H7 infection can lead to serious complications, including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure.  HUS can occur a week or more after the onset of diarrhea.  Those most at risk of developing complications from E. coli infections include young children, the elderly, and people who possess weakened immune systems.

Officials in Minnesota are continuing to investigate a cluster of four E. coli O157:H7 illnesses that have the same “pulsed field gel electrophoresis” (PFGE) patterns, otherwise known as DNA fingerprints.  Three of the four cases reported provided a direct link to Hartmann Farm while the fourth case is still under investigation.  Three people were hospitalized as a result of the illness while one case has developed HUS.

Minnesota law prohibits most raw milk sales, except for some purchases made directly at the farm where the milk is produced. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture investigates complaints and cases of foodborne illness associated with the sale of raw milk. Enforcement actions can be taken in cases when sales of raw milk are identified and people become ill from consuming the raw milk.

See Real Raw Milk Facts.com

© Food Safety News
  • Michele

    Was this product sold at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market this spring?

  • CB

    I don’t believe it was the dairy’s fault. I have been drinking milk from them for months and have been healthier than ever. No such symptoms and I do not know how someone drinking their ‘raw’ milk could NOT know it is not pasteurized.
    Perhaps the purchaser did not keep the milk cool enough.

  • Wants The Truth Told

    Do the headlines below get attention on national t.v and radio ? No.
    Only the story of three (possible 4) cases of ecoli which has been possibly traced to a raw milk processing plant /dairy in Minnesota.
    What do we know aboyut M.O.M. dairy?
    How many cows are milked?
    What are they fed?
    If you google search M.O.M.s dairy in Mn all you get is a gazillion links to the same story about being possibly linked to an ecoli outbreak with the same Dept of Health warning to the public that raw mik is DANGEROUS, yet, not a word about not eating lettuce or mexican food!
    What does this say about the push by big corporate America to silence the raw milk debate?
    “College Students Sickened in Lettuce E. Coli Outbreak – 30 Victims Nationwide”
    “Casa Lopez Salmonella Outbreak Sickens at Least 41 in Ohio”

  • http://www.acommunaltable.com Nancy Buchanan

    Hello CB,
    Keeping food cold only slows the growth of pathogens – it doesn’t stop it. E. Coli pathogens are only killed by heat or irradiation. Where the animals come from, how they are fed, etc, etc. has no impact on whether they have e.coli or not.

  • Jackie Schmidts

    Here is another raw milk story that hurts the entire dairy industry. When will people learn, raw milk can be bad for you, it is like winning the lottery, only this is one you don’t want to win. If we knowingly know the dangers raw milk consumption provides, why is it allowed to be sold at all? I think the dairy farmer’s profits come first, then the safety and quality of dairy products second.

  • The Patriot

    This farm lost its permit to sell grade A milk due to unsanitary conditions 8 years ago and since then has refused to allow inspectors on its farm. It repeatedly has knowingly violated food safety regulations. Organic does not have to mean filthy.

  • Ed

    I have been drinking their milk for several years and except for the ticks (;-), I am doing just fine.
    I have worked on a dairy farm during my college days. Personally, I would disagree with the sanitation and other “improvements” to the dairy and food industry. Organic does not mean filthy, but it also does not mean sterile. The use of anti-bacterials in soaps and other cleaning agents is a major cause of disease transmission in my opinion. It creates super-organisms. I will stop at this point to keep this post on topic.

  • CJ

    It is unfortunate that the majority of the public simply do not understand the reasons why certain people elect to drink raw milk. However, without going into that issue, I would prefer to leave the public with a few facts to think on. If you think that by drinking pasteurized milk vs. raw is the ticket to health and safety — think again.
    In 1982 over 17,000 became ill with “Yersinia enterocolitica” from PASTEURIZED MILK bottled in Memphis, Tennessee.
    In 1982, 172 people became ill (100 hospitalized) in a three southern state area from PASTEURIZED MILK.
    1983, over 49 persons with Listeria illness have been associated with comsumption of PASTEURIZED MILK in Massachesetts.
    1984, August – approx. 200 people became ill from salmonella typhimurium outbreak from consuming PASTEURIZED MILK.
    1984, Nov – another outbreak of salmonella typhimurium illness from consuming PASTEURIZED MILK.
    1985, 142 cases and 47 deaths traced to pasteurized cheese and 19,660 confirmed cases of illness from CONSUMING PROPERLY PASTEURIZED MILK.
    1994, 105 persons ill from E.Coli and Listeria in California from PASTURIZED MILK.
    On and on I can go all the way up to the present about the suffering and deaths of people who CONSUMED PASTEURIZED MILK all over the United States — NOT raw milk — PASTEURIZED MILK.
    It is a fact that California requires labels be put on their raw milk sold, which reads like this: “NO OUTBREAKS OF HUMAN ILLNESS FROM CONSUMPTION OF RAW MILK IN CALIFORNIA.” Yet, no warning labels accompany their pasteurized milk which has a history of killing or making people sick as do other states whose consumers drink pasteurized milk and develop illness.
    It is VERY unfortuate that anybody ever get sick or worst yet die by consuming any real food — whether it be raw or pasteurized milk, spinach, lettuce, cheese, chicken, beef, mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, ect. Nobody wants to see that happen.
    If you think your a “safe milk drinker” by simply not visiting a farmer and bringing home some raw milk — think again. Believing that pasteurization is 100% totally safe is a LIE that apparently some officials and the milk industry would like you to believe.
    E-coli is not about milk – espcially raw milk — it can be found in any food or drink, fresh or canned, pasteurized or raw. You can even sit down tonight at some resturant and bring home a case of E-coli. Remember the 700 people who became ill with E.coli 0157.H7 from the hamburgers at a national chain. Not to mention various other resturants that I will elect to not mention. But I guarantee you that today, everyone of them that had an incident — the public is still buying — still standing in line ordering the hamburgers, the chicken, the cheese, the mayo from the same resturants that were found liable. Does the public buy spinach growed from the same place that had an outbreak last year? How about chicken? Where do you get yours?
    As far as the farmer with the raw milk — we’ll the jury isn’t out yet. Despite having all his cows, sheep and pigs tested to which they still haven’t found the source on his farm — it’s an on-going slaughter house — a witch hunt — if you may, for anybody selling raw milk. Right now, the vultures of the press, health departments, legal authorities, attorneys — are all running around touting a story that hasn’t even been confirmed. Yet, the articles “read” as though it’s all fact.
    The question then is, did the farmer get the “RAW” deal or did you — the public — who is made to believe that by drinking pasteurized milk and not raw milk, makes it all 100% safe.
    I do believe that is what the public thinks–their question — why would anyone want to drink raw milk? “Raw milk is unsafe — pasteurized milk is safe.” We’ll, I beg to differ.
    I think that in the milk case, even this lastest one with the local farmer — EVERYBODY got a RAW DEAL.

  • katie

    What follows is a statement on behalf of Michael Hartmann, owner of Hartmann Dairy Farm, and his family in response to a number of news reports that milk from the farm has made people ill.
    The Minnesota Department of Health served a motion to condemn and destroy embargoed natural food on Michael, Diane, and Roger Hartmann on Saturday, June 5, 2010. This is the first notice given to the Hartmann’s that samples taken from the Hartmann property were tested and the results of those tests.
    Not a single test of raw milk was found to contain any strain of e.coli.
    The seven page Petition alleges at paragraph 6 that “23 samples from dairy and meat products and 80 samples from animals and the environment” were taken. According to the warrant inventory, no samples were taken from any meat product. All meat is inspected at a licensed custom meat processing site by an individual with over 10 years of USDA meat inspection experience.
    At paragraph 9, the State wrote in the Petition that of the 103 samples tested, 9 samples tested positive for e.coli, a bacteria found in the lower intestines of virtually all mammals. Of the 9 samples, none was from any milk cow; 4 calves manure (not milked), manure from a cow pen (beef cows, not dairy, not milked), manure from a pasture for dry cows (not milked), manure from a steer yard (steers are not milked), manure from 2 heifers (not milked), and manure from one sheep (not milked). No claim is made that any sample from a dairy cow or the dairy barn contained any e.coli.
    Two samples of cheese, one cheddar and one herb and spice Gouda, made from raw milk were found to contain a strain of e.coli that the state could not identify as e.coli 0157:H7. A third positive test for an unidentified strain of e.coli was taken from a bucket of clean-up rinse water. As everyone knows, cheese is intentionally cultured with bacteria to create the product and until a specific strain is identified there is no evidence of contamination.
    As of today, there is no evidence of any harmful bacteria in any raw milk, cheese, meat or other product sampled from the Hartmann farm. The State has engaged in a serious regulatory and potentially criminal action in a grossly negligent manner
    with total disregard for the defamatory content of their media campaign.

  • Mary

    The dangerous element to this story is that they are pointing their at the milk. So, are they still checking other sources? The same thing happened in California a few years back. They eventually discovered it was not the milk, but spinach. You have to wonder how many people became sick because of the states inadequate investigation?

  • Brian

    Katie,
    Thanks for the info, but you might want to read the following:
    http://www.marlerblog.com/2010/06/articles/case-news/to-hartmann-dairy-farm-on-your-e-coli-outbreak-dont-mess-around-with-jim-eight-people-now-sick/
    This blog article written on 6/11/2010 states:
    “Health officials said today that 28 environmental and animal samples obtained by the Minnesota Department of Health from the Hartmann farm have now tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. Twenty-six samples had the same DNA fingerprint as the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7. These additional positive samples include environmental samples from the dairy barn where the cows are milked.”
    So, the statement from the Hartmanns doesn’t exactly jibe with the statement above regarding samples from the barn where the cows are milked. Granted, it does say that these include ‘environmental samples’ (likely water, manure or other non-milk samples). It doesn’t specifically state that the products themselves are tainted.