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Illogical Decision by Utah Department of Agriculture Over Raw Milk

12/05/2023

Raw milk distributed by Utah Natural Meat and Milk dairy in West Jordan, UT. was recalled after a trace-back from 12 patients with campylobacteriosis.  The action taken by the Department in September has now been rescinded and the dairy is allowed to distribute raw milk subject to monthly sampling and testing.  Campylobacter entered milk produced by the dairy through either direct or indirect fecal contamination.  It is evident that the intestinal tracts of dairy cows on the farm are colonized with Campylobacter, and it is inevitable that additional cases will occur. 

 

The decision to allow distribution of raw milk from the West Jordan facility and from 15 other licensed farms in the state is questioned.  This is supported by a statement by the Department, “Raw milk, no matter how carefully produced, may be unsafe.  Individuals who choose to consume raw milk or raw milk products are advised to take steps to decrease the chance of raw milk causing food-borne illness including Heating raw milk to 165 degrees F for at least 15 seconds and cooling it before consuming.  This statement merely supports the need for pasteurization.  There is no reason to purchase raw milk and then to home-pasteurize it when commercial milk is available that has been subjected to pasteurization applying HACCP.

 

The Commissioner of Agriculture, Craig Buttars, stated, “While we did not take suspending the license of this small farm and business lightly, it was important that we ensure that milk products were safe for consumption.  We are grateful for the efforts by the UDAF team and the dairy owners to isolate the cause of the illness and to ensure that milk is safe to be sold once again.”  It is scientifically implausible that any “precautionary measures” can prevent contamination of raw milk with Campylobacter, Salmonella, STEC, and other pathogens that are destroyed by pasteurization.

 

In Utah, raw milk can only be sold directly to consumers at a farm.  Federal law prohibits interstate transport since the inherent dangers of raw milk are recognized and incorporated into federal codes.