Raw milk is risky

I have friends who grew up on the farm their entire lives and insist on drinking raw milk as they feel that pasteurization completing devoid the milk of nutrients. I can preach about the dangers of consuming raw milk supported with scientific facts but that’s not going to change their minds. They’re adults, they can make their own choices; just don’t impose your choice on a child. When I was younger I was courting a girl who lived on a dairy farm in rural Manitoba (Canada). She insisted on drinking raw milk and offered some to me. I was aware that raw milk was risky but this way before my food safety days. So like many boys courting women, you sometimes make foolish mistakes and so I drank the milk. Puked it up. Not because of microbial reasons, just tasted horrible, maybe it was that batch, not sure.

Kristi Rosa reports
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued an official health advisory regarding a rifampin/penicillin-resistant strain of RB51 Brucella that has been linked with the consumption of raw milk; this follows a alert issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) that was issued back in mid-August.

The DSHS defines raw milk as “milk from cows or other animals that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria.” Raw milk can be contaminated with several different bacteria, including Listeria, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Campylobacter—all bacteria that are known to be responsible for countless disease outbreaks.

The individual who contracted brucellosis is a Texas resident who was exhibiting fever, muscle and joint pain, as well as fatigue. The DSHS reports that blood culture revealed the bacteria responsible for these symptoms was, in fact, Brucella. Further investigation tracked the infection back to a potential source: a licensed raw milk dairy based in Paradise, Texas, called K-Bar Dairy.

The CDC stresses that any individuals who have consumed raw milk from this dairy between June 1, 2017 and August 7, 2017 should “receive appropriate post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).” These individuals are thus at increased risk for infection and should contact their healthcare providers to inquire about PEP and undergo potential diagnostic testing.

K-Bar Dairy has fully cooperated with the CDC’s investigation and has contacted customers and advised them to dispose of any milk that may be contaminated. However, the dairy does not have a record of all customers, therefore, the DSHS alerted the public about the recall on August 14, 2017.

The rest of the story can be found here.

Australia to pasteurize macadamia nuts

A macadamia processing plant near Lismore has cracked a world-first for nut treatment.

macadamia.pasteurizerThe pasteurisation machine at the Alphadale company MPC reduces levels of micro-organisms through non-chemical methods.

“The pasteuriser treats food in a way that reduces the levels of potentially pathogenic micro-organisms that may be present,” general manager of MPC, Stephen Lee, said.

“The pasteuriser that we are using uses non-chemical treatment, so it is only using a combination of heat, steam and atmospheric pressure on the macadamia kernel,” he said.

It took three years of researching equipment to settle on the new technology that cost $1.7 million.

Mr Lee said the system would reduce the need for product recalls over health concerns such as salmonella.

“We’re the first processor in the world that has installed a machine that is capable of achieving a 5-log reduction of salmonella on macadamia kernel,” Mr Lee said.

Preventative pasteurization for Hazelnut Growers of Oregon

Hazelnut Growers of Oregon is starting up its large Napasol Pasteurization line this week, effectively bringing in house a state-of-the-art process to eliminate any potential foodborne pathogens. The performance of the Napasol process is validated for a 5-log kill on Salmonella and other pathogens on hazelnuts and other nuts and seeds.

hgobannerOregon is the largest producer of Hazelnuts in the U.S. In business since 1984, the 150 growers that are members of the Hazelnut Growers of Oregon cooperative cultivate 10,000 acres of prime hazelnut orchards in the Willamette Valley. The region’s gentle climate and abundant rainfall grows trees that produce large nuts of exquisite flavor and freshness. Westnut, their industrial ingredients division, is the largest processor and marketer of hazelnuts in North America. Hazelnuts are processed in the Cornelius facility which handles 25 million lbs. of in-shell hazelnuts and 5 million lbs. of hazelnut kernels.

Pathogens such as Salmonella have been involved in foodborne illnesses and product recalls in several kinds of nuts including Hazelnuts. Jeff Fox, President of Hazelnut Growers of Oregon, points out that “the number of samples from the field that test positive warrants this investment to protect the interest of their growers and the commercial development of the cooperative” adding that “whole industry sectors are taking proactive measures to protect their markets, for example mandatory pasteurization of almonds has been in place since 2007.”

Napasol offers an ideal solution, because nuts are treated at relatively low temperatures and the saturated steam is dry, the process preserves the sensory attributes of the raw nuts while delivering the most effective microbial reduction on the market. The process is validated for the pasteurization of a wide range of nuts including hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, macadamias, and Brazil nuts.

“There is a clear trend in the industry for a demand for pasteurization of nuts, for example for pistachios and walnuts, two other large US crops involved in recalls” says Dieter Kundig CEO of Napasol. He adds “This investment gives a unique advantage to Hazelnut Growers of Oregon and also anticipates regulatory measures that will affect the entire nut industry with the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act and with the outcome of FDA’s ongoing tree nut risk assessment.”

21 sick from raw milk in Oregon; again ‘people missed the boat on one of the great advances in public health – pasteurization’

Oregon health officials suspect two more illnesses are part of a raw milk outbreak traced nearly three weeks ago to a farm near Wilsonville.

William Keene, senior epidemiologist with Oregon Public Health, told Lynne Terry of The Oregonian the two adults had both consumed raw milk from Foundation Farm, including one person who continued to drink it after being warned about the outbreak.

Keene said one was sickened by campylobacter, the other by cryptosporidium, making 21 likely cases in the outbreak. Nineteen others were infected with E. coli. One of the worst foodborne pathogens, E. coli O157:H7 was on rectal swabs from two of the farm’s four cows. Milk and manure from the farm also tested positive for the same bacteria.

State epidemiologists did not test for campylobacter or cryptosporidium so they don’t know for sure that the two new cases are linked to Foundation Farm milk, but Keene said it’s likely.

Cryptosporidium and campylobacter repeatedly turn up in raw milk, he said, along with other harmful bacteria.

Four children who drank the milk were hospitalized with acute kidney failure, which is associated with E. coli O157:H7. As of Friday, they were still in the hospital, Keene said.

Two of the patients — 14 and 13 — are Portland area middle schoolers. The others are 3 and 1 years old.

A fifth child from Lane County, who drank the milk while visiting relatives in the Portland area, was hospitalized and released.

"We’ve documented yet another unfortunate incident where people missed the boat on one of the great advances in public health — pasteurization," Keene said.

A table of raw milk related outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/rawmilk.

Ontario’s real raw milk hero

As a child driving past the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless memorial in St. George, Ontario, just north of my Brantford home, I had no idea who she was and why she had so many names.

But more than a century ago, after her youngest son, John, died from drinking contaminated milk as an infant, Hoodless embarked on a campaign to have all milk heat-treated — pasteurized — to kill potentially harmful bacteria, making her one of Canada’s earliest food safety proponents.

Tracey Tyler of the Toronto Star writes that Hoodless grew up on a farm in St. George, near Brantford,and is sometimes described as one of the country’s most effective but least-known social reformers.

After her son’s death in 1889, she devoted herself to educating women in the “domestic sciences” and giving them the institutional backing they needed to protect their families.

Her work led to the formation of Women’s Institutes, home economics programs in schools and the creation of the Macdonald Institute at the University of Guelph.

Toronto passed a bylaw in 1915 requiring all milk sold to be pasteurized and that became mandatory across Ontario in 1938. The Star was a prominent advocate for pasteurization, and remains so today, with the publication of an editorial insisting there is no sound scientific evidence supporting the claim that raw milk improves people’s health, but a mountain of data showing it can be dangerous. It’s especially risky for children, pregnant women and the elderly.