Raw milk sickens three in Vermont, including toddler, with E. coli

Officials with the Vermont Health Department say raw milk from a local producer is the only epidemiological link involving three cases of E. coli illness.

 Patsy Kelso, an epidemiologist with the health department, said,

"We didn’t find any other common exposure. It’s strong evidence, but it’s not conclusive. It’s still not absolute proof because we didn’t get a hold of any of the raw milk to test."

The name of the raw milk producer is not being released, because the state cannot be sure that the milk was the source, she said.

The state doesn’t have the regulatory authority to force a recall even if a source is pinpointed with proof. Besides, the batch of milk that possibly was the source has already been consumed or discarded, she said. Raw milk has a short shelf life.

Two of the three people ate ice cream made from raw milk at a picnic. The third person drank raw milk from the same producer, but not at the picnic. One of the three recent cases involved a toddler who had kidney problems.