The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that it had suspended the permit allowing Pasture Maid Creamery in New Castle, PA, to sell raw milk for human consumption.  The move came Monday after testing revealed Campylobacter in the creamery’s raw milk.

Campylobacter is found in a wide variety of healthy domestic and wild animals including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, wild birds, dogs, cats, rodents, and marine mammals.  The bacteria usually live in the intestines as part of the animal’s normal flora, and is shed in feces.  Most Campylobacter species do not cause any signs of illness in the animal host.

Ingestion of Campylobacter bacteria by humans causes diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, and muscle pain.  Symptoms typically appear two to five days after exposure.  Most cases are mild, do not require hospitalization, and are self-limited; however, Campylobacter jejuni infection, or campylobacteriosis, can be severe and life-threatening. 

Campylobacteriosis may cause appendicitis or infect other organs.  It can also enter the blood stream.  Guillain-Barre syndrome is a severe complication of campylobacteriosis that can lead to paralysis.  An estimated one in 1,000 cases of Campylobacter infection results in death.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, at least six people became ill with campylobacteriosis after consuming raw milk from Pasture Maid Creamery in February.

Freezing raw milk will not kill Campylobacter; anyone who has purchased raw milk from Pasture Maid Creamery is urged to discard the milk.  Anyone ill with symptoms of campylobacteriosis should contact their health care provider and report their illness to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

  • Jackie Schmidts

    This is a very good reason why raw milk should not be sold to the general public. I bet those who got sick from this milk might not have known the risks. Why in this day and age when we have the science (in this case pasteurization) to provide safe quality food to people they are ignorant of the facts. Someday we’ll hear about someone losing their life just because they had to have raw milk to drink that they think cures all ills.
    Raw milk is not safe and shouldn’t be allowed for sale to the public. The reason states allow the sale is to give those dairy farms a quick buck at the expense of consumers and the rest of the dairy industry trying to actually increase sales of safe healthy quality products!!!!

  • Tom Burton

    A raw dairy that does not “keep the shit out”, as Mr. Marler says, should be sanctioned. Customers or share-holders need to be informed of the risks. Distribution of raw dairy products should perhaps be limited to direct farm to consumer for better accountability, but I don’t think it should be banned altogether. You may not value raw diary. I don’t value alternative medicine or mountain climbing, but I respect the opinions of those who do. Same for raw dairy, it seems to me.

  • Eli

    And when you have to buy all of your produce including eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, nuts, etc precooked and packaged because any of them could become contaminated in the same way, you will no longer gain any nutritional value from your food. Its coming if we continue to believe that only the large producers and large packagers can provide “safe” food in spite of the e-coli outbreaks in hamburger, contamination of the entire spinach crop, stawberry crop, and was it tomatoes or peppers last year? I seem to remember that some of those situations ended up being the fault of the packager. Maybe we should just pass a law that you can’t sell any food and all people have to grow their own that way, no one is to blame.

  • Oh my! Whatever did we do before the PDA?
    I’ve been a customer of Adam Dean’s for years, and I’ll drink his milk any day before I drink store bought milk.
    Fact of the matter is increase regulations have lead to greater food risks.
    Ground beef e.coli is the perfect example.
    As a small farmer I have good safe food. I don’t think any type of food or food production should be regulated.
    I feel sorry for you folks that have to shop at the grocery store and drink homogenized & pasteurized milk.
    If you only knew what has been done to store bought milk………

  • Volvo_Rosie

    I’m an educated woman with several advanced degrees… so I’m no foolish consumer. I also don’t make decisions regarding what I feed my family lightly. Adam is a very conscientious farmer… He’s doing what is right for his land, his livestock, and his customers. I’ve never been to a farm to buy milk or produce and seen a cleaner environment. The fact of the matter is bacteria is everywhere… my children could pick up Campylobacter from my cat’s litter box or playing in the yard outside… I bet most of you don’t even know how often you’ve had bacterial infections and excused it as a flu “bug”. There is also scientific evidence to show that bacteria exposure builds our immune systems. I choose to buy food that comes from my local farmers because I want food that has been exposed to the least amount of bacteria. For years my ancestors and yours drank unregulated milk, water, etc… and ate foods that grew in local dirt. I’ll continue to choose to buy food from “down the road” over food that has been “trucked from south of the boarder” and I’ll vote for the right to make my own choices about what is right for my family. My children are 2, 6, and 9… they’ve drank Adam’s milk for years and we didn’t have a trip to the pediatrician’s office this whole winter… and we chose not to get the government’s swine flu shot either. Learn as much as you can before you criticize the American Farmer and don’t believe everything you read that comes from our media… they are far from experts on all topics… they are just trying to sell newspapers!

  • Donald L. Gibbon

    From the evidence of my own health (Since beginning to drink raw milk regularly some two years ago I’ve had an almost complete absence of lactose-intolerance symptoms after fifteen years of severe discomfort), I am a strong supporter of allowing raw milk to be sold in PA. For those of you to whom government regulation is anathema, this is a perfect place to get really angry with the bureaucracy. Adam Dean is an exemplary farmer. He is being ruined by impossible-to-comply-with regulations, self- contradictory regulations, disastrously slow review processes, enormous bias in favor of the accuser, assumption of guilt until proven innocent… It is HUGELY UNFAIR! If you want something to shout UNAMERICAN about, here’s your perfect chance. The justice system has gone mad and a good man, a great family, is being destroyed. Get on board and help this man! Donate on his behalf to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund or to the PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture. Both of these are working on his behalf. Tell them you want to support Adam Dean’s defense.

  • Martha Michalek

    Raw milk in my diet has improved my life immensely. I too suffered from some sort of severe pasturized milk intolerance. Now that I have raw milk routinely in my diet, I can go to church picnics and restaurants without fear of intestinal distress. Whatever it is that raw milk has, routine exposure to it helps me to be able to eat all milk products except for yougurt, without problems. After 10 years of avoiding even meat that was soaked in milk before being breaded, I can now eat an ice cream cone with no problem. We need to work to improve health conditions for all people. This includes people such as myself who are very willing to risk potential exposure to some microorganism, in order to have improved health. I too have in recent years purchased milk from Adam Dean at Dean’s Dairy, and been impressed by his kindness, hardwork, and the cleanliness of his operation. Most everything worthwhile in life has risks. Eliminating raw milk from the American diet, such as has been produced at Dean Dairy, would be a very bad for America. I sincerely hope the dairy is back in business soon!