A Missouri man whose wife died after drinking raw milk contaminated with Listeria in June has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Swan Bros. Dairy Inc. of Claremore, OK. According to the suit, filed on January 21, 2022, in the District Court of Rogers County in the state of Oklahoma, as many as 10 other people who drank the unpasteurized milk at that time were also sickened.
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2021 Swan Bros. Raw Milk Recalls, Lawsuit
According to the complaint, Roy and Waunita Reese purchased two gallons of raw milk from Swan Bros. on or around June 1, 2021. They froze one of the gallons and stored the other in the refrigerator. Over the next few weeks, as they drank about two-thirds of the gallon, Waunita began to fall ill. She became weak and had trouble walking. On June 22, 2021, she was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with a Listeria infection. On July 2, 2021, she died.
On July 6, 2021, the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services tested the milk and it was positive for Listeria, according to the lawsuit. That same day, the dairy posted a recall on Facebook for raw milk and raw cream purchased between 6/14/21 and 7/1/21. The dairy stated it had removed all of its fluid milk products from the shelved the prior week “after a single person claimed to have tested for Listeria after traveling with our milk to another state.”
Ten days later the dairy issued another recall. This time for pasteurized milk dated “best by” July 30, 2021.
A couple of weeks later, Swan Bros. posted an update that said in part, “We have a lot to say about how ODAFF [Okalhoma Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry] handled this situation but for now we just want to provide an update. We will continue with regular third party audits and run our own private testing with a certified lab. ”
The dairy rounded out the year with two more raw milk recalls:
2020 Swan Bros. Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak
2021 was not the first year Swan Bros. raw milk had food safety issues. In 2020, the dairy’s raw milk was subject to a statewide recall after it was found to be contaminated with Campylobacter. The recalled milk was linked to a Campylobacter outbreak that sickened 10 people.
Promoted as Healthy, Raw Milk Poses Serious Risk
Raw milk enthusiasts often tout the benefits of “natural” foods. But no matter how clean and well-cared-for an animal is, it can still harbor bacteria that can cause serious, and, as this lawsuit shows, fatal illness. For this reason, health officials recommend drinking only pasteurized dairy products.
Raw milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness, and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than any illnesses involving pasteurized dairy, according to recent studies. Between 1993 and 2012, 127 outbreaks were linked to raw milk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These outbreaks included 1,909 illnesses and 144 hospitalizations. Many of these outbreaks involve children.
Laws governing the sale of raw milk vary from state to state. In Oklahoma, it is only legal to sell raw milk from on-farm sites. Swan Brothers sells its pasteurized products to various “partners” throughout the state, including restaurants, butcher shops, and grocery stores, according to its website.
Food Poisoning Lawyers with Experience
If you consumed a raw milk product from Swan Bros. dairy and have developed symptoms of an infection, see a doctor right away. If you have questions about your legal options, including filing a lawsuit that can help you win money for medical bills and lost wages, please contact our legal team by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text 612-261-0856, or completing the form below. There is no obligation and we don’t get paid unless we win.