165 people sickened with salmonella after drinking raw milk from a central California farm

By JONEL ALECCIA | Associated Press

Dozens of salmonella illnesses have been linked to raw milk from a California farm, a far wider outbreak than previously known, according to newly released state records.

As of February, at least 165 people were sickened with salmonella infections tied to products from Raw Farm, of Fresno, California, according to the records. It is the largest reported salmonella outbreak linked to raw milk in the U.S. in the past decade, according to health officials.

The disclosure of the outbreak’s size comes as health officials warn the public to avoid unpasteurized milk due to a bird flu virus circulating in U.S. dairy cows. The bird flu, known as Type A H5N1, has been detected in more than 140 U.S. dairy herds, and federal health officials say the virus has been detected in high levels in raw milk.

State and local health officials hadn’t updated the public about the full scope of the salmonella outbreak since October, when officials in San Diego reported about a dozen cases. At the time, Raw Farm issued a voluntary recall of milk and heavy cream sold between Oct. 11 and Nov. 6.

Cases continued to mount, however, according to documents obtained by Bill Marler, a Seattle food safety lawyer who shared the records with The Associated Press. Marler said he represents 16 clients allegedly sickened in the outbreak.

Investigators matched samples from sick people to samples from the farm and a retail store, the documents said. More than 60% of the people with confirmed infections who were interviewed reported consuming Raw Farm products. People from four states were infected, though the vast majority — 162 — were from California. Four of the people with salmonella were also infected with campylobacter and/or dangerous E. coli bacteria, the documents said.

Nearly 40% of illnesses were reported in children younger than 5, officials said. Twenty people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

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California health officials said Wednesday that they had conducted a “robust” investigation in partnership with local teams and state agriculture officials and notified the public about the outbreak through the October recall notice and social media posts in October, November and December. The outbreak …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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