Product packaging–not its pasteurized dairy or juice products–appears to be to blame for the Salmonella Braenderup problem at Oregon’s Umpqua Dairy.
Umpqua Dairy of Roseburg began a mid-week recall of its milk, half and half, cream, and buttermilk and suspended its operations after the facility was linked to an Oregon Salmonella outbreak.
The bacteria was found on surfaces in the dairy.
Oregon public health officials reported 23 laboratory-confirmed DNA matches to the Salmonella Braenderup strain in an outbreak that dates back to October 2009. Two people who were infected required hospitalization. No one has died.
“The outbreak has unfolded slowly and it was just recently that we were able to confirm the matching Salmonella strain in the Umpqua milk plant,” said Dr. Paul Cieslak of the Oregon Public Health Division. He said the risk to consumers is low.
“We have had approximately one illness for every million containers that Umpqua has sold during this period,” Cieslak added.
Umpqua Dairy first heard about the problem on Aug. 17, a day before state health officials issued a warning about the products.
Dairy President Doug Feldkamp said tests are pointing to product packaging with the common link being the distribution network.
While its facility is not currently making any milk or juice products, the family-owned company has no plans to lay anyone off. The employees are now all working to sanitize the plant.
Umpqua is the largest independent dairy in southern Oregon. It has been in business since 1931.
Umpqua brands include: Cascade, Great Value, Lady Lee, Market of Choice, and Sherm’s. The company supplies milk to Washington and Oregon Dairy Queens.
All Umpqua products are stamped with a plant code of 41-62. The recall is for milk purchased on or before Aug. 16 with an expiration date of Sept. 5, 2010 or earlier. The expiration date for buttermilk is Sept. 10, 2010 or earlier. Orange and fruit drinks have an expiration date of Sept. 15 or earlier.
Salmonellosis is an acute bacterial infection that can cause diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Symptoms usually develop within one to five days after eating contaminated food.
Most cases resolve without medical attention, and antibiotics are not advised for people with uncomplicated illness.
People who have consumed any Umpqua Dairy products and developed severe symptoms should discuss this exposure with a health care provider.
The following numbers of people from these Oregon counties have been infected with this Salmonella strain: Douglas, 6; Marion, 3; Jackson, 3; Lane, 3; Linn, 3; Josephine, 2; Coos, 1; Deschutes, 1; and Klamath, 1.
The median age of those sickened is 13 years.