At least 10 people infected with Campylobacter in California reported drinking Organic Pastures raw milk prior to becoming ill, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said Thursday.
Raw milk, raw skim milk (non-fat), raw cream and raw butter produced by the Fresno County dairy have been recalled and are subject to a quarantine order imposed by California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Whiteford.
Whiteford issued the quarantine order after Campylobacter was detected in Organic Pastures raw cream, according to a news release.
“Consumers are strongly urged to dispose of any Organic Pastures products of these types remaining in their refrigerators, and retailers are to pull those products immediately from their shelves,” public health officials wrote in the statement.
According to CDPH, six of the 10 people sickened are under 18. All 10 range in age from nine months to 38 years old; median age is 11.5 years. None of those sickened have been hospitalized. The outbreak cases reside in Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara counties.
Mark McAfee, Organic Pastures owner, says he believes the test results are incorrect and has requested a hearing with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Organic Pastures has been linked to several past outbreaks of pathogen infection and recalled its unpasteurized dairy products for fecal-pathogen contamination in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011. In 2006, the raw milk dairy was the subject of a quarantine order after six children became ill with E. coli infections – two experienced kidney failure from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
In November 2011, the state ordered a recall of Organic Pastures raw milk products and placed the farm on quarantine after five boys who drank unpasteurized milk from the dairy were infected with E. coli O157:H7. Environmental samples collected at Organic Pastures yielded E. coli 0157:H7 indistinguishable from the bacteria infecting the boys. Three of the children were hospitalized with HUS.
In its news release Thursday, CDPH said it identified 10 people with Campylobacter infection linked to Organic Pastures milk from January through April 30 this year.
This is the sixth outbreak in the U.S. associated with unpasteurized dairy products since the start of 2012.
So far this year, at least 18 people have been sickened by Campylobacter from raw goat milk sold in Kansas, 80 people became ill from Campylobacter-contaminated raw cow milk produced by a Pennsylvania farm, and 9 were infected by Campylobacter from raw milk products sold by a San Benito County, CA dairy. Fourteen E. coli O157:H7 infections have been linked to raw cow milk in central Missouri and a raw milk outbreak in Oregon has sickened 19 people with E. coli O157:H7 infections, one with Cryptosporidium and one with Campylobacter.