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Several Utahns sickened by unpasteurized milk

By Anne Forester | Posted - May 14, 2010 at 4:12 p.m.



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What are the symptoms of salmonellosis?
Most people experience diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 8 to 72 hours after the contaminated food was eaten. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms usually disappear within 4 to 7 days. Many people with salmonellosis recover without treatment and may never see a doctor. However, Salmonella infections can be life-threatening especially for infants and young children, pregnant women and their unborn babies, and the elderly and those with weakened or compromised immune systems. .-USDA

PROVO -- Health officials say a handful of people in Utah got sick with salmonella from drinking raw milk. Though they live in three different counties, the one common link among the six people was that they drank raw milk from the same farm.

The first person to get sick was in Utah County in mid-April. Since then, five others from Utah, Salt Lake and Wasatch counties tested positive for salmonella newport, a specific kind of salmonella found in raw dairy products.

The Utah Department of Agriculture, the State Department of Health and the Utah County Health Department determined all had bought unpasteurized milk from Real Foods Market in Orem and Heber City.

"Both get their product from Redmond farms in Sevier County," said Lance Madigan, spokesman for the Utah County Health Department. "They've been really good with getting us product to test, and that's how we found it was in that batch."

Health officials had the store pull the milk from shelves and suspend sales. Just this week, the health department took a clean sample, and Friday, raw milk was available at the Orem and Heber stores once again.

Consumption of raw milk warning
• There are inherent risks associated with the consumption of raw milk (unpasteurized milk) due to the disease-causing bacteria commonly found in milk such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, and E. coli.
• Raw milk contaminated with disease-causing bacteria will not smell or look different from non-contaminated milk. To prevent from getting ill from raw milk it is best not to consume it.
• If you have consumed raw milk in recent days and are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider.

Redmond Heritage Farms issued a statement saying: "Acting on the assumption that the Department of Health test results are accurate, we apologize to our customers and accept responsibility for this situation."

Unpasteurized milk is a regulated product because of the health risk that's involved. People drink it because they think raw milk has more health benefits.

"[The] public health standpoint is any nutritional loss that you receive from pasteurization is greatly diminished compared to the risk of food borne illnesses," Madigan said.

Redmond Heritage Farms says to avoid future problems it's making a few improvements. One is further testing on top of the required monthly state tests for salmonella.

E-mail: aforester@ksl.com

Anne Forester

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