beach-beat West Virginia Delegate Scott Cadle got a pass this week from the state’s public health cops after violating state law in the Capitol building. The state lawmaker didn’t even attempt to use ignorance of the law as a defense and, in fact, admitted his crime after the fact. Cadle also made public his intent to break West Virginia state law by offering raw milk to the public — from the floor of the House of Delegates — on March 3. The Mason, WV, delegate’s open invitation to all within the sound of his voice to stop by for a swig of unpasteurized raw milk was a celebratory move in response to the governor signing a bill into law that will allow herd-share dairy operations to provide members/investors with raw milk. Eric Eyre and David Gutman (really, that’s not a pun, it’s his byline) have been reporting on Cadle’s departure from the straight and narrow for the Charleston Gazette-Mail since his milk toasts were linked to an outbreak of gastro illnesses among lawmakers and their staff at the Capitol. 19th-century-men-toasting-milk An anonymous complaint to the state’s health department remains under investigation. Eyre reported Friday that West Virginia Environmental Health Services Director Walter Ivey sent Cadle a warning letter. “While it’s clear you violated West Virginia law by offering raw milk to the public, the bureau recognizes that this is your first offense,” Eyre reported the letter said. “Therefore, we do not intend to monetarily penalize you for the violation, but ask that you refrain from offering raw milk for consumption to the public regardless of whether the milk offered is without charge or for sale.” I’m not going to say anything about the safety or nutrition of unpasteurized raw milk. What I am going to say is shame on Ivey and any other elected or appointed public officials or officers of the law who give lawmakers a free pass when they fail to obey the law. Failure to impose the maximum $500 fine in this case, where the lawmaker publicly stated his intent to break the law, is unacceptable, unfair and unconscionable. Really? You don’t know how E. coli could be linked to your goats? As much as Delegate Cadle in West Virginia did not claim ignorance of the law, owners of a goat farm in Connecticut are claiming ignorance in an E. coli outbreak linked to their herd. goat-kidd Public health officials ordered Oak Leaf Dairy Farm to suspend distribution of unpasteurized products and halt public visits at the farm while it investigates the outbreak that has sickened at least seven people. Six of the victims are children, and two of them have been diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which attacks the kidneys. Numerous media outlets in the Lebanon, CT, area have reported that the farm’s owner has expressed sympathy for the victims and their families and dismay at how the E. coli outbreak happened. He reportedly said E. coli has never before been linked to his farm and that none of his family’s goats have been acting or looking sick. Well sir, Google returns about 467,000 hits in half a second if you enter these search terms: goat, E. coli. Granted, your website says you’ve only been a goat farmer since 2006, but I would think even in the remote corners of Connecticut a person starting up a goat herd a decade ago would probably do a bit of surfing on the Web. Let me cut to the chase for you. Goats and many other animals carry E. coli with no signs or symptoms. Here are a few of my favorite finds if you want to read up a bit on the herd hazards: USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: “Sheep and Goat Diseases that can be Transmitted to Humans — Escherichia coli: Although most Escherichia coli are harmless bacteria and part of the normal intestinal flora, some serotypes such as E. coli O157:H7 can cause intestinal disease (food poisoning) in humans, resulting in bloody diarrhea, kidney failure, and death. People can become infected by ingestion following contact with feces of infected animals (and humans) in contaminated food, and water.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention“E. coli O157 is naturally found in the intestinal tracts of many farm animals, including healthy cattle, sheep, and goats.  Animals can carry E. coli O157 and shed the germs in their stool but still appear healthy and clean. The germs can quickly contaminate the animals’ skin, fur, feathers, and the areas where they live and roam. “Animals can appear healthy and clean but can spread E. coli O157 to humans or other animals.” Iowa State University“Currently, there is no evidence that E. coli O157:H7 causes illness in animals. They only serve as carriers (or reservoirs) of the organism.” (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)