The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture on Monday said the Your Family Cow raw milk dairy may resume production and bottling of unpasteurized milk, as the number of confirmed illnesses connected to milk sold by the farm earlier this month rose to 43.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, there have been 36 cases of Campylobacter infection in that state, four in Maryland, two in West Virginia and one in New Jersey in people who drank raw milk from the Your Family Cow farm.

Nearly have of those sickened are under 18, health department officials said.

Last week, Maryland public health officials say lab tests confirmed Campylobacter jejuni bacteria in two unopened containers of unpasteurized milk collected from the homes of Your Family Cow customers. The farm owners have acknowledged that the milk they sold was contaminated and sickened customers. “It was us,” owner Ed Shank wrote in an open letter of apology on the dairy’s website.

The state agriculture department said the Your Family Cow dairy in Chambersburg passed a final inspection Monday afternoon. Since the dairy voluntarily closed last month, after the first illnesses were reported, the owners say they have made a number of safety improvements, including hotter water for washing its milk tank and bottler and a new computerized system to monitor its equipment.

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.

  • so there was nothing wrong with the milk, as such. It was a mistake in handling it post-harvesting ( milking). Much like other food processors when something goes wrong ,,, a simple recall of questionable product. Then back to business as usual. Raw milk dairying can be done safely. Many thousands of others got sick from perfectly legal food products, the same week, yet no attention from the national media. Meanwhile, 6 million people drank REAL MILK, with no ill effect, and got healthier from it

  • Mary

    Fortunately, most simple recalls of questionable products don’t also involve significant outbreaks of illness, such as the 43 people — many of them little children — who have been stricken with excruciating stomach cramps, retching, vomiting, explosive bloody diarrhea and have had to face the fear of possible brain damage or longtime reactive arthritis as the result of Campylobacter they got from drinking Your Family Cow’s unpasteurized milk.
    Nothing is ever “wrong” with the foods that make people sick. It’s the excrement contaminating the food that is the problem, and selling food tainted with poop is always a mistake.
    Meanwhile, no one but the hucksters who profit from selling raw milk at inflated prices actually believes this lie that 6 million people drinking it, but many gullible people do buy the false and misleading advertising about it being a magical food. Raw milk is essentially the same nutritionally as pasteurized milk, it doesn’t cure lactose intolerance or asthma or acne or cancer and it’s no healthier than regular milk. But you do pay a lot more for it, in many ways.
    Drink it if you like the taste. Personally I think it tastes like it smells, like dirty cow.
    And if raw milk “dairying” can be done safely, you sure can’t prove it by the poor performances of Your Family Cow, the largest raw milk dairy on the East Coast, and Organic Pastures, the largest raw milk dairy on the West Coast.