After two people were sickened by Campylobacter, the New York state departments of health and agriculture on Thursday warned consumers in Tompkins County and surrounding areas not to drink unpasteurized milk produced at Jerry Dell Farm in Freeville, due to possible contamination.

The state Health Department said it notified the farm on Sept. 22 that two people who had consumed its raw milk were infected with Campylobacter enteritis.

Tests completed Thursday at the New York State Food Laboratory found that the unpasteurized milk produced at Jerry Dell Farm, and collected on Sept. 22, contained Campylobacter, the health department said.

The farm had voluntarily suspended milk sales and will be prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that the product is free of pathogens.

The health department advised anyone who still has milk purchased from Jerry Dell Farm to discard it immediately, and said individuals experiencing gastrointestinal illness symptoms after consuming milk purchased from Jerry Dell Farm should contact their health care provider.

Jerry Dell Farm holds a permit to legally sell raw milk at the farm. Producers who sell raw milk to consumers in New York must have a permit and must sell directly to consumers on the farm where the milk is produced. These producers must also post a notice at the point of sale indicating that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization. Farms with permits to sell raw milk are inspected monthly by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Marketing.

Raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization, which eliminates all pathogenic bacteria, including Campylobacter. Campylobacter can cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, headache, and muscle pain. The illness usually occurs two to five days after ingestion and generally lasts for seven to 10 days, but severe cases can lead to complications, including paralysis.

  • I would like more info. Is there a way to here a statement from the farmer and not just the one from the department of health? I trust the word of a farmer who is willing to jump through the hoops necessary to sell raw milk in NYS. This is not something the farmer has to do and it is difficult. This tells me he knows how good raw milk is to have as an option. I think it is only fair we hear from him and know the true nature of this “outbreak” report. Thanks.

  • jackie schmidts

    So the offender is going to say he is innocent, but the facts are there, he has bad raw milk he is selling to unsuspecting consumers. It should be illegal to sell milk to consumers. When they get sick, whose problem or fault is it? The cow, the farmer, the customer, the manure that found its way into the product, the state for not making the farm test their milk everyday instead of once a month, the fact the dairy farmer is not willing to sell a safe product by pasteurizing it? Wow, these raw milk radicals are everywhere!

  • carol edwards

    I’ve just read the last comment and am astounded by the last sentence. I’ve never seen my self as a radical, but I grew up drinking raw milk. I am a product of a time when dairy farming was done on small dairy farms. My grandfather milked 28 cows and raised all of his own replacements. This was considered a closed farm, resulting in less introduction of disease from other farms. I never regularly drank pasturized until lunches in junior high school. I must say I agree that the milk should be tested more than once a month and ideally checked everyday if not cost prohibitive. I’ve worked in microbiology so I am aware of the importance of a “clean” product. I haven’t looked at the literature on the benefits of raw milk but all I know that I grew up strong with a strong immune system. The consumption of raw milk can be done safely if the farmer does a good job of sanitizing and keeping the animals in good health.