Organic Pastures Raw Milk Linked to E. coli O157 infections and Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
Raw milk products produced by Organic Pastures were the subject of a statewide recall and quarantine order after 5 children were sickened. From August through October, 2011, five children contracted E. coli O157 infections after consuming raw milk produced by Organic Pastures of Fresno County, California. These children are residents of Contra Costa, Kings, Sacramento, and San Diego counties. Three of the five children developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of E. coli that can cause kidney failure, stroke, heart failure, pancreatitis, severe high blood pressure, blindness, and other serious health problems.
Under the Organic Pastures recall, all Organic Pastures raw dairy products, with the exception of cheese aged a minimum of 60 days, were pulled immediately from retail shelves. Consumers were strongly urged to dispose of any of these products remaining in their refrigerators. Until further notice, Organic Pastures did not produce raw milk products for the retail market. The order also affected Organic Pastures raw butter, raw cream, raw colostrum, and a raw product labeled “Qephor.”
The quarantine order came following a notification from the California Department of Public Health of the cluster of five children who were infected with the same strain of E. coli O157:H7.
Interviews with the families indicated that the only common reported food exposure was unpasteurized (raw) milk from Organic Pastures’ dairy Surveys indicate that only about three percent of the public reported drinking raw milk in any given week. Therefore, finding that 100% of these children drank raw milk, and the absence of other common foods or animal exposures, indicates the Organic Pastures raw milk was the likely source of their infection.
California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) milk and dairy foods safety experts began a complete inspection at Organic Pastures dairy – of all facets of operations, from the cows to the bottling plant. Before the quarantine could be lifted, the facility must have met all sanitation requirements under state law. Additionally, raw milk products were tested to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.
Organic Pastures Raw Milk and Cream Recall
California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones announced a statewide recall and quarantine order of raw milk and cream produced by Organic Pastures Dairy of Fresno County with a code date of May 18, 2016. The quarantine order followed the confirmed detection of Salmonella bacteria in raw cream. No illnesses were reported in connection with this recall.