The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with officials in North Carolina and South Carolina to determine the course of eight cases of campylobacteriosis in North Carolina related to the consumption of raw milk. On July 17 the agency also reiterated its warning for consumers not to drink raw milk from Tucker Adkins Dairy of York, South Carolina.
The three cases of campylobacteriosis in North Carolina have been related to people who consumed raw milk from Tucker Adkins Dairy in York, S.C. on June 14. Five other cases are considered probably related to the outbreak. The three confirmed cases and the five probable cases are from three different households and each case reports that prior to becoming ill they consumed raw milk that was obtained from Tucker Adkins Dairy on the date in question. One person was hospitalized.
FDA says it has an ongoing investigation into the matter in collaboration with the N.C. Division of Public health, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Symptoms of illness caused by various bacteria commonly found in raw milk may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache and body ache. Most healthy individuals recover quickly from illness caused by raw milk. However, some people may have more severe illness, and the harmful bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous for pregnant women, the elderly, infants, young children and people with weakened immune systems.
The FDA recommends that consumers only drink pasteurized milk. Raw milk is unpasteurized milk from hoofed mammals, such as cows, sheep, or goats. Raw milk may contain a wide variety of harmful bacteria – including Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, Campylobacter and Brucella -- that may cause illness and possibly death. Public health authorities, including FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have expressed concerns about the hazards of drinking raw milk for decades.
If consumers of raw milk are experiencing one or more of these symptoms after consuming raw milk or food products made from raw milk, they should contact their health care provider immediately, as well as contact 1-800-SAFEFOOD.
Some additional information about raw milk consumption and campylobacter:
• Campylobacter is one of the most common causes of diarrheal illness in the United States.
• Although retail sale of raw milk is legal in South Carolina, it is illegal to distribute raw milk in final package form for direct human consumption in interstate commerce. Retail sale of raw milk for human consumption is also illegal in North Carolina.
• Raw milk is unpasteurized milk and may contain many pathogens harmful to human health, including Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, Mycobacterium, Listeria, Corynebacterium and Brucella.
• Pasteurization is a reliable method for eliminating harmful bacteria from milk, and is the only method used in the United States.
Learn more about campylobacter at the www.FoodSafety.gov website at www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/campylobacter/.