Maryland public health officials say lab tests confirmed Campylobacter jejuni bacteria in two unopened containers of unpasteurized milk from the Your Family Cow farm in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania health authorities have not yet announced the results of their tests, as the number of people who are sick after drinking milk from the raw milk dairy has risen to 35 in four states.

The confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection include 28 people in Pennsylvania, four in Maryland, two in West Virginia, and one in New Jersey.

The Maryland health department said it continues to advise consumers to discard any milk from the Family Cow dairy purchased since January 1.

The owners of Your Family Cow farm in Chambersburg, PA, one of the largest raw milk dairies on the East Coast, have said tests conducted on three samples of milk by a private lab they retained were negative for pathogens.

On January 27, Maryland and Pennsylvania health authorities issued an alert reporting multiple cases of Campylobacter infection associated with drinking raw milk from the dairy. Your Family Cow sells its unpasteurized milk in retail stores in Pennsylvania, at its farm and at several drop-off locations.

The sale of unpasteurized milk is permitted in Pennsylvania but not allowed in Maryland.

Raw milk, which is milk not heated to kill many harmful bacteria, can become contaminated with a wide variety of germs, including E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Campylobacter, primarily from cow feces. Campylobacteriosis is most often associated with drinking unpasteurized milk or untreated surface water, or eating undercooked poultry, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis get diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever that typically lasts one week. Some infected persons do not have any symptoms.

About one in every 1,000 reported Campylobacter illnesses leads to Guillain-Barré syndrome, and can result in paralysis. The CDC estimates that as many as 40 percent of Guillain-Barré syndrome cases in the U.S. may be triggered by campylobacteriosis.

  • Pasteurization of milk and chlorination of water are important to prevent the disease of Campylobacter.

  • joe

    Chlorine causes hardening of the arteries and the arteries and the calcium in the pasteurized milk causes plaque in the arteries. Vitamin K is destroyed with heat but is responsible for the absorption of calcium into the body. Without vitamin K the calcium is not absorbed into the body and sticks to the walls of arteries. There was a major study on this 2 years ago. People drank milk for the first 300 years of this country without getting sick. I drink raw milk and have not gotten sick. maybe we should precook eggs and ban small family farms. Or maybe it should be mandatory to eat an McDonald’s so they can feed you pink goo burgers since you cannot take care of yourself.

  • JJ

    Joe–The fact that you drink raw milk and have “not gotten sick” doesn’t mean that the practice of drinking unpasteurized is a safe one. And your claim that no one has gotten sick from drinking raw milk “for the first 300 years of this country”, is not only a ridiculous statement that cannot be backed up with facts of any kind, but is so naive as to be laughable. With modern testing techniques and a solid epidemiological investigation, it is relatively easy to connect a food-bourne illness to a particular food, especially when you can go back and test unopened product and find the exact same pathogen that is found in the sick people. This investigation clearly found Campylobacter bacteria in unopened raw milk. It has been well established that Camplobacter can cause serious illness and even death. So please explain to us how raw milk can be considered safe? Oh and as far as drinking pasteurized milk having a lasting negative effect on cardiopulmonary functioning by “causing plaque” due to a lack of Vitamin K–a claim that I haven’t yet investigated, but that I seriously doubt–may I suggest that you take a simple multivitamin. That way you can have your SAFE milk product and drink it too.
    Problem solved.