Dairy investigated over raw milk concerns
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services last month temporarily suspended the Grade A dairy permit of Crawford’s Dairy in Chapel Hill for failing to comply with state standards. The permit was re-instated after the dairy complied with a series of requirements.
The department began investigating the farm after two N.C. residents were diagnosed with campylobacteriosis, a bacterial infection that can come from consuming contaminated unpasteurized, or raw, milk. Both residents had consumed raw milk purchased from Crawford’s Dairy.
“The sale of raw milk for human consumption is illegal in North Carolina,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Consumption of unpasteurized dairy products may cause serious illness, and anyone who has purchased raw milk or other dairy products from Crawford’s Dairy is urged not to consume them.”
In addition to selling raw milk, the dairy farm was producing yogurt, cream, butter and buttermilk in an unlicensed facility. The farm’s Grade A permit allows it to sell milk to a processor.
Raw milk is unpasteurized milk from animals such as cows, sheep and goats. Raw milk may contain a wide variety of harmful bacteria – including Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria and Brucella – that may cause illness and possibly death. The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache and body ache. The harmful bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous for pregnant women, the elderly, infants, young children and people with weakened immune systems.
Pasteurization, which involves heating food to specific temperature for a definite length of time, and then cooling it immediately, slows microbial growth in food. It is a reliable method for eliminating harmful bacteria from milk, and is the only method used in the U.S.