A Pepin County dairy farm’s Grade A permit is being suspended for 30 days, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The farm, owned by Roland and Diana Reed of Arkansaw, WI, supplied the raw milk that caused 38 Campylobacter jejuni infections in those attending a Durand High School event last September. rawmilkglass_406x250The Reeds have agreed to the penalties, which include a provision for an additional 150-day suspension for the current violation if the dairy violates any condition of an agreement with DATCP in the next three years. Any new violation would also result in the loss of their grade A permit for another six months, after which they would have to reapply for Grade A status. “Our goal is to prevent a reoccurrence by changing the practices that led to this outbreak, said Dr. Steve Ingham, administrator of DATCP’s food safety division. “We take our responsibility to protect public health seriously and uniformly enforce the law.” Raw milk contaminated with Campylobacter jejuni and supplied by the Reeds’ farm was officially named the cause of a September 2014 foodborne disease outbreak in a joint report issued by DATCP and the Pepin County Health Department. Although the owners of the dairy farm were not named in that report, DATCP had disclosed their names to local media in response to a state Freedom of Information Act request and again named them in a Feb. 19 news release on the penalties. Ingham said that, based on a review of that report, DATCP found that current state statutes and rules were violated by the distribution of “unpasteurized milk in an unauthorized manner, so we are talking appropriate action.” About 50 people attended the Durand High School football team’s dinner, held potluck-style and off-campus last Sept. 18. There were a variety of beverages, including Kool-Aid, but, of the 38 who were sickened, 71 percent only drank the unpasteurized milk supplied for the event by the Reeds. Milk from the Reed’s bulk tank was tested 10 days after the event, and at that time was negative for Campylobacter and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli. However, the report noted that those Sept. 24 samples were “not representative of milk that was served during the team dinner.” The investigation stated that bovine manure samples were a better method of detecting bacteria present in the milk at the time of the outbreak. From the nine manure samples taken, the outbreak-associated PFGE pattern was identified. Campylobacter infections commonly occur from eating and drinking contaminated food and water, including unpasteurized milk from infected cows, according to the report. It affects the intestinal tract and is often a cause of bacterial diarrheal illness. Common signs and symptoms of Campylobacter infection include diarrhea (often bloody), cramping, abdominal pain and fever, and, in rare instances, the infections are severe and the bacteria can be isolated from the bloodstream. Those sickened by Campylobacter ranged in age from 14 to 49 and included 33 students and five coaches. Sixteen of the 38 people went to doctors, and 10 were hospitalized. Temperatures as high as 105 degrees F, diarrhea, chills and sweats were the most commonly reported symptoms.