Health officials in the Golden State say an investigation into a Campylobacter outbreak associated with raw milk from Claravale Farm is continuing, but is not over.

“The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is conducting an epidemiologic investigation, ” according to a statement.   “CDPH cannot provide any other details until the investigation is completed.”

Food Safety News reported on February 17 that Claravale Farm, one of two state-licensed commercial raw milk dairies in California, is under investigation for possible milk contamination with Campylobacter.   The infectious disease can cause serious gastric problems and in some cases can be life-threatening.

At that time, CDPH said state investigators were talking samples of both Claraville’s products and from inside the dairy. At that time, the department had not taken any regulatory action.

Raw milk is not pasteurized to kill harmful fecal bacteria that can contaminate milk.

At the time of the first report a month ago, Claravale Dairy had voluntarily stopped distribution to some of the many California stores that sell its products, including ice cream and raw cow and goat milk.  It did not make any public statements, and it is believed regular deliveries have resumed.

The Campylobacter outbreak, according to reports that cannot be confirmed because CDPH is not talking, involves several children, with at least nine sickened.  “My son drank raw milk (Claravale Farms) and was extremely sick several hours later,” said a father from California’s Orange County.  “High fever, vomiting, bloody stool and a few days later was diagnosed with Campylobacter.”

A cow infected with Campylobacter can spread the illness by contact with an udder or the milk if it is not pasteurized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC)

Claravale Farm is located in San Benito, CA. Its history dates back to 1927. As of September 2011, the production of 65 Jersey cows and an unknown number of goats supported its dairy.  

It provides information about raw milk to its customers — its website says raw milk is “entirely natural” and unprocessed, and estimates that raw milk remains good if held in a refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Unlike Organic Pastures, the bigger, better-known raw milk dairy in California, Claravale Farms has not previously been linked to an outbreak.