Caught in the Middle: A TN Raw Milk Farmer Agonizes About Serving Multiple Masters

MarcieMcBee.jpg

Marcie McBee with her husband and one of her three children. “It’s frustrating,” says Marcie McBee. “I can’t fix something I can’t find. I can’t fix something they can’t find.” 

The 36-year-old owner of McBee Dairy in Mascot, TN, is referring to the allegations that her dairy’s milk was responsible for nine illnesses from E.coli O157:H7, including three children who were hospitalized.  Through her comments on this blog, following my previous post, McBee provided a sense of some of her frustration around getting at the causes of the problems that may have occurred at her dairy. In a couple of conversations I had with her yesterday and today, she provided additional insights. 

Especially upsetting to McBee is the case of a five-year-old girl who remains hospitalized and on dialysis, with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). (The girl’s family has put up a Facebook page, “Praying for Maddie.”) 

According to McBee, the two other children who were hospitalized have been released and are well on their way to recovery. 

McBee is relieved the state on Friday reinstated the dairy to resume distributing raw milk to about 200 families via a herdshare.  But she remains deeply troubled about Maddy, and the inconsistencies and confusion the case illustrates. 

On the one hand, the little girl’s family is understandably upset. According to McBee: “The family got very angry at us. They wonder, ‘Why don’t you fix it?’ It is hard for them. I hate it. There is not a lot you can do but pray.” 

McBee has been similarly frustrated with the state’s approach to the illnesses. “I want to know as much as anyone else where this is coming from,” she says of the E.coli O157:H7.  She feels the state’s approach to the case hasn’t been as focused as it should have been on trying to get to the bottom of the illnesses. “Are you investigating me, or are you trying to find the bug?” she asks.

The indications she has received is that the state has been focused more on investigating her. While the state took milk and manure samples from some of her 24 milking cows (all of which have come back negative for E.coli O157:H7), the initial probe focused on her customer list. McBee declined to provide the list until the state had come up with evidence linking her farm to the illnesses; eventually, the state obtained a search warrant to obtain the list, and at the end of last week came to her farm to forcibly obtain the data. 

Even while the state was pushing to link McBee with the illnesses, her customers were pressuring her and the state to get the milk flowing again. Many peppered county health officials with calls. 

McBee made an observation that other raw dairy owners have made about the pent-up demand that occurs following a dairy’s shutdown: “People are hot for their milk. The government is biting themselves in the toe. People want it. If the government says it is going to kill you, people say, ‘I want that.’ “

McBeel told me she lost at least two herdshare members as a result of this episode. One told her he couldn’t afford the milk any longer and another “couldn’t stand worrying about her children.” 

Yet McBee said she retains complete confidence in the milk her dairy produces, to the extent that her three young children continue to drink it. 

One of the most intriguing outcomes of the case is that the court order re-opening the dairy orders her to “cooperate with the University of Tennessee Agriculture Extension Office’s food safety expert in the provision of education regarding dairy operation best practices.” The public health community, led by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has actively worked to prevent dairies from obtaining food safety guidance. It’s difficult to know whether the University of Tennessee even has experts who can provide serious guidance of use to a raw dairy owner. Does this order represent a shift by the public health community in sanctioning educational outreach for raw dairies…or is it just an aberration? 

**

 I’d say from the reaction of the 1,000 or so people who watched the big GMO “Debate of the Decade” put on by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, it did a lot of entertaining, and even some educating. I sure had a lot of fun in my referee get-up, and Joel Salatin and Joe Mercola looked like they were having fun as well, even when they were generating some serious sparks. There is an excellent wrapup of the debate at Activist Post–more complete than I can provide at this late hour. 

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226 Comments on "Caught in the Middle: A TN Raw Milk Farmer Agonizes About Serving Multiple Masters"


null.set
November 9, 2013

“Pray for Maddy ” … “There is not a lot you can do but pray.”

to whom are such petitions being addressed? … the power-less local Baal-god = the “authorities” ? What have they done for you, lately? When things are this serious, Americans get down on our knees and talk to the only One Who has healing in his wings

McBee
November 9, 2013

Amen Gordon. I said that wrong. As a human I tend to try to fix things when at the end of the day I throw my hands up and turn it over to God. I am so backwards in this. Thanks for pointing that out. I will right now throw my hands up to God and turn it over from the beginning as that is not the only thing that can be done but the first and best thing that can be done!

McBee
November 9, 2013

As for the cooperate with the University of Tennessee Agriculture Extension Office’s food safety expert. Faith came out and watched us milk, she said our set up and practices were sound not much I can do here but offer you some more resources. She gave me a packet that we had with the Grade A Dairy about machines cleanliness and general guidelines. She gave me The Lab Book with supplies in it. She said she would be happy to help find or give us and explanation of how any equipment works, just to give her a call if we need anything. The lab book may come in handy, I did not know some of these thing were available. That is the end of that. I think the state that we are working with them was made to look like we are letting them help us and oversee some of our operation kind of thing. (who knows, wait and see). But it was a one time I am here let me know if you want anything else kind of thing.

Mary McGonigle-Martin
November 9, 2013

Marcie, I don’t know if you have people helping you with milking the cows or if your family members are the only ones doing the milking. There are people that have the E.coli 0157:H7 in their stools, but are not symptomatic. However, they can still pass on the bacteria to others and someone can become ill. It might be a good idea to have everyone who milks or comes into contact with any of the steps in the milk production process to have their stools checked for E.coli 0157:H7.

rawmilkmike
November 9, 2013

McBee, I read this on the food safety attorney Bill Marler’s Food Safety News website.
““We feel we’ve identified the source,” Dunn said, pointing out that all of the children who became ill drank raw milk from the dairy.” Is this true? Is this their evidence? If it were then what did they mean by ““It’s a pretty clear signal about the source,” he said. “The data and exposure information is very compelling.””? It is completely imposable for there to have been only 9 cases of diarrhea in your entire area over a 30 day interval and it is unlikely that there would be no further cases in your area.
……………………………………..
McBee, in case you haven’t seen it, here’s my infamous cucumber story.

These numbers come directly from a resent CDC report on a cucumbers, salmonella outbreak. It is a typical example of what the CDC passes off as a so call out break of foodborne illness.
1. Illness; diarrhea and not cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, lactose intolerance etc. Aren’t these what the public would naturally assume the state is referring to when they say illness?
2. Food; only agricultural commodities and not canned food, cakes, cookies, candy, soda, chocolate milk etc. They are totally ignoring the really toxic foods that make up the majority of our diet. They actually have us afraid of spinach and sprouts, two of the healthiest foods on the planet.
3. Outbreak; 73 cases in 3 months, while the nearly 300 million other cases of diarrhea in this country are not even acknowledged. The average American gets diarrhea 3 times a year. There was no evidence to show that these 73 cases were actually caused by salmonella.
4. Association; cucumbers, because 67% of the 45 ill interviewed ate cucumbers while only 44% of the well people surveyed ate cucumbers and not because of any actual Salmonella contamination found.
5. Blame; 2 Mexican producers because 6 of the 45 ill interviewed eat their cucumbers and not because of any actual Salmonella contamination found.

Shawna Barr
November 9, 2013

Well, prayers for all coming from us Marcie…for the little one who is so sick, for your farm and your family, and for the truth of this situation to be known. Obviously, IF your farm is the source of this outbreak, you what to know that and why. And if its not, it would be great to know that too!

Couple of questions…did all 9 of the people who have been sick drink herdshare milk? Any of them in the same family?

Also, did the University offer to provide you with ongoing milk testing services for coliform counts and SPC? And, to advise you on how to properly take a milk sample? That would be a very valuable service for you and all your share members. Even better if they would be willing to send someone monthly to take that same and run the tests, free of charge. Seeing regular test results with 0 or very low coliform counts will be a great relief to you, or it will reveal any weak links in your production plan!

This would be a praiseworthy use of our public funds. And its not like working with a lab at this point is going to put you on government’s radar. That cat is already out of the bag! 😉

I once consulted with my local dairy inspector about our raw milk operation. I found that while she was quite knowlegeable in the inspection routines for Grade A dairies, her expertise was limited to inspecting procedures for milk intended for pasteurization. As raw milk producers, that is not good enough. I would say that if you want someone to give constructive feedback on your production plant, it ought to be someone with extensive experience in raw milk production.

Shawna Barr
November 9, 2013

production *plan*…not *plant*….:)

rawmilkmike
November 9, 2013

McBee, Maddy’s condition is almost certainly caused by medical malpractice but don’t expect them to admit it. When people drink your milk for their health the $4 trillion a year medical industry becomes your competitor and they do not play fair. I am also, praying for Maddy.

Mary McGonigle-Martin
November 9, 2013

I sure hope the McBee’s have liability insurance. If not, I hope they plan to get it in the future. The shareholders can pay for the monthly premium by raising the cost of the milk. A family could sue the McBee’s and they could lose everything. All people in the raw milk business should have liability insurance. It is very foolish not to have it.

null.set
November 9, 2013

yup … right on schedule, the Perpetual Pessimist dumps her load of personal poison into the mix. Doing so, she gives away the game = the fact that product liability insurance IS available to raw milk dairies, proves that the actuaries have crunched the numbers, so as to figure out that the risk of harm from consuming raw milk, is tolerable in the commercial system.
Proponents of REAL MILK do not begrudge lawyers like Marler & Co … they are just filling a role in the ecology / ambulance-chasers are same as the crabs at the bottom of the sea.
What I do resent, is, those who have the intelligence to know better, yet persist in studied ignorance, flogging the dead horse of “risk of harm to public health”
What’s been published so far about the cluster of illnesses in Tennessee, is nothing but ‘guilt by association’. Burden is on those fomenting the hysteria, to answer why the other 991 members of the cowshare DID NOT get sick from the McBee cowshare.

Shelly-D.
November 9, 2013

Regarding how these “outbreaks” are checked — there have been reports that families are asked by health inspectors about drinking raw milk, but they are not asked about other foods. This is from the “Comments” section of the article “A Clash over Unpasteurized Milk Gets Raw” at http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304370304575151663770115120:

” Here’s what they did to my daughter: She caught camplyobacter from a bad chicken taco. She received a call from an ‘agency’, purporting to be official, asking if she had drunk any raw milk in the previous three weeks. She said ‘no’, ‘but I did eat some stinky chicken tacos. Do you want information on that?’ They said ‘no. We’re only looking at raw milk.’
” Suppose they had called 1,000 camplyobacter patients, and five of them had drunk raw milk…well, probably 300 of them had eaten tomatoes; 900 of them had taken baths; 650 of them had pet a dog or cat…They would have concluded that ‘raw milk is LINKED to camplyobacter.’ But it is no more linked than all the other things that people eat, that also have no causative connection.
” Believe me, the food and chemical companies along with the FDA are protecting their profits. Why have they forced GMO soy and GMO corn on the public? What about the rbst hormone they give dairy cows? How about the inflammatory effects of homogenizing milk? The list goes on…They are poisoning us and they want to prevent those of us who want to drink raw milk from having that choice.”

Can the health department prove that it surveyed the health habits of every family in your area who had this illness at the same time, whether they belonged to your cowshare or not, to find out if there were other foods which may have been the cause? Did they test all the other foods that these families may have eaten? Maybe they all bought lettuce at the same grocery store. Maybe they all had burgers at the same restaurant. I would like to see the health department prove that they have ruled out these possibilities.

jillyb
November 9, 2013

These outbreaks are expensive. I can only speak to my daughters medical expenses but in the 18 months since her getting HUS from drinking raw milk she easily has over 2 million is medical bills. This year alone I figured out our out of pocket expenses have been $16,000. This number doesn’t consider lost of wages (for having to quit my job to take care of my daughter), my husbands lost of wages for when both she and I had surgery at the same time for her kidney transplant. This is why raw milk dairies need to hold liability insurance. We are one family of four that got HUS and this was a small diary. Families putting claims against a liability policy doesn’t mean they have to sue the farmer. It just unfortunate that victims need lawyers like Marler in order to get what they are entitled to when these outbreaks occur. Our farmers had no liability insurance and we choose not to sue them.

Mary McGonigle-Martin
November 9, 2013

If that was the case you would have had other people ill that did not drink the same raw milk. If it was lettuce, then someone else who ate lettuce and did not drink the milk would have become ill. That is when the health department would begin looking in another direction. In this case, 9 ill children, all young, and all 9 drank the milk.

Pete
November 9, 2013

But guilt by association is all that is needed to collect checks. A consumer knowingly chooses to buy a potentially dangerous product and they blame the farmer when it goes wrong? Casting blame on other parties is a nice way to absolve oneself of ones guilt.

jillyb
November 9, 2013

If the information out there really lead parents to believe that the product is “potentially dangerous” that would great. There is no warning labels on raw milk and most of those selling it are not talking about the potentially dangerous risk to drinking raw milk especially for young kids.

jillyb
November 9, 2013

and nothing will ever absolved my guilt for my daughter life changing illness because I choose to give her raw milk and buy into the belief that we were providing her a better health.

mjayrussell
November 9, 2013

Some background about foodborne disease outbreak investigations that may be helpful.

The Science and Art of Epidemiology
Part 1
http://www.pma.com/system/files/Epidemiology%20-%20Part%201.pdf
Part 2
http://www.pma.com/system/files/Epidemiology%20-%20Part%202.pdf

Pete
November 9, 2013

What you say is equally true of nearly every other food out there.

The government, medical establishment, media and scientists all repeatedly go to great lengths to warn of the dangers of raw milk consumption. I fail to see that much more could be done to make it clear to people. Sure, there will always be the oblivious, warning labels or not. But many different foods are more frequently contaminated with pathogens and they do not carry warning labels.

Go ahead and put a warning label on the milk. ‘This product could kill you.’ There will still be people who wish to roll the dice and then get mad when it doesn’t land in their favour.

f1baja
November 10, 2013

First of all, the Facebook page you listed in your article is wrong or you listed her age wrong. You stated in your article that she’s 6…click on the link you listed, does that look like a 6 year old girl to you? Secondly, Marcie McBee says that she can’t fix something she or they can’t find. I’m confused because the local news media reported that one milk sample did test positive and several manure samples did test positive for the toxin of the strain of E.coli that the 3 confirmed cases had. So they did “find” something. Fixing means acknowledging feces could have come in contact with milk, and being more careful going forward. I’m not sure why there is such denial when McBee says everyone is aware of the risks. The reason the state needed the customer lists was to interview and see if anyone else had been sick. If each of these people had their own cow at home and were milking and consuming on their own there would be no investigation; but since one farm is milking for 200 shareholders, and the common link of the illness is them, then they are required to investigate. I’m impressed with how quickly they got things done and lifted the order for McBee to resume business. I’m shocked that they have only lost 2 customers. Since they have a waiting list then it should be a non-event. I wonder how much money the families of the children hospitalized have lost. I wonder if any of them will have long term medical affects that will constantly plague them. When something bad happens I always hope something good comes of it. So I wish the best for the McBee farm, the workers of it, their customers, and especially the children and families that have been sickened by E.coli.

SarahJaneS
November 10, 2013

You are correct, news sources did report that there was contamination found in the milk from at least one persons share and home. The cows stools did test positive for the same strand of E. coli effecting the children.
Furthermore, though it was not reported via the news that I have seen, there were many other cases that were reported to the hearth department via the interviews, but as they were not treated by medical professionals or those that were not treated or tested as E. coli (normally sought medical attention after weeks of being ill when they were in the rebound and tests might have been cleared) they can not actually be counted.
At least three adults I have spoken to personally have reported being severely ill with severe diarrhea, bloody stools and more weeks.
There’s also a tummy bug going around the community at the same time so you have to wonder if more would been tested if the numbers could have been higher. Who knows.
All the children in the hospital were connected by the milk from the farm and only the milk from the farm which is why the health department had enough of a connection to get the court order.
From there, the effected milk was the batch from around the 11-12th. Milk samples taken by the health department were from about the 30th. This batch was cleared of infection.

The story, while yes, supporting raw milk, is lacking some information.

Madison is five btw :-)

Yes, some of my info is hearsay, but most can be pulled straight from news sources or even the final health department write up.

I’m a supporter of local farms through and through! I support the right and choice to offer better food options and weigh the choices on your own.

It’s not an unknown Rick of the raw milk consumption that these things can happen, Marcie herself has been saying that in every interview from the start. It can take a piece of infected feces the size of a dust mite on an udder to cause an E. coli infection. It doesn’t take much. Maybe better education to both the handlers of the product, and the consumers of the product is more important than either demonizing the health department and media or the farmers or people like Marcie.

Is everyone aware of this risk? I don’t believe so. I believe people feel safe assuming the farmers know what they are doing and taking the precautions to protect them. Do I believe the farmers are? Yes. I believe Marcie and other raw milk farmers are trying to put out the best possible product that they can. Is there area for improvement? I don’t know, but maybe that’s another area to research and look into. Maybe there’s a way to test every batch before it goes out. Maybe there’s a way to clean differently than what’s being done? A better method for training employees or the importance of taking every step seriously.

I think these things are all important not all the finger pointing or blame seeking going around here.
Nor trying to ignore any sort of problem was there which is what I read out of the blog.

Mama
November 10, 2013

Sigh…I wish all those obsessed with the dangers of raw milk were as concerned about GMOs and other toxins in children’s food.
I just read an article in the local paper about Polybisphenol-A or whatever the heck that sealent is in bottles and cans, warning readers about the health risks linked to it.
Darn, where are all these concerned citizens when we need them?

Mary McGonigle-Martin
November 10, 2013

Sarah Jane. Very well said. Thank you!

Ken Conrad
November 10, 2013

Exactly mama!

If we continue to focus on and preoccupy ourselves with avoiding bacteria in food such as spinach, lettuce, nuts, apple juice, milk or you name it, while carrying on with the current toxic paradigm that predominates in conventional medicine, agriculture and food processing, then these so-called food born illness scenarios among other things will continue to get worse.

Here is an example of where our fear driven, narrow-minded contempt for the microbial world has led us.

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2013/10/27/Expert-The-end-of-antibiotics-period/UPI-59881382932519/

“U.S. health officials said in September more than 2 million U.S. adults and children get infections resistant to antibiotics each year, and at least 23,000 die as a result.”
“Bacteria, like any living organism, want to survive. Bacterial resistance is largely inevitable, because bacteria will always change to survive.”
And here is a little added perspective
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-03-24/features/ct-x-n-health-dirt-20100324_1_nu-professor-northwestern-study-immune-system
“Analyzing data collected from thousands of children over two decades in the Philippines, researchers have concluded that a healthy dose of germs and pathogens during infancy reduced cardiovascular inflammation in adulthood — a precursor to heart attacks and strokes.”
“We found that kids who had higher levels of exposure to infectious microbes — kids who had more diarrhea and higher levels of exposure to animal feces as an infant — those individuals had lower levels of CRP as young adults.”
Ken

rawmilkmike
November 10, 2013

jillyb, you are only guilty of trusting your doctor and our government as many people do. Your doctor does have insurance. He’s the one you should sue.

rawmilkmike
November 10, 2013

Amen, Shelly.

McBee
November 10, 2013

I have come to the conclusion that was stated with the first comment on this article. My God is great and mighty and going to him in Prayer and Petition is the first and best thing that can bee done. As for the news media I give up. I have the documents and I was told that every, yes every test came back negative. If their really are any positive test do you not think that it would be good to let me know. Do you not think if they were concerned for your safety they would at least let me know what other types of test can be ran (I have asked) or should the media only have privilege to that? What purpose does that serve? To make your milk safe or to scare you? The media is spoon fed just like most Americans, most of them don’t even have to dig anymore or know how to report. All my customers are told that raw milk can kill you, I don’t agree with that but that is what the FDA says in our contract and it is explained.

This is not a case were nine children were sick lets find a link. It was three children were sick and confirmed (two went home over night) now lets call all the member and see who had any diarrhea or vomiting in the month of Oct, then lets make that number 9. I am supper glad you feel that they looked every were for the problem for your child but in this case that has not happened. I have parents of sick children that don’t even know the test results of their milk and that were never questioned about any other food. I would test that milk in a heart beat. For that mater any individual can test their milk, you can send milk to a lab as well as I can. In this state you own the cow I work for you.

As a parent I will step up and take that responsibility for my family. It is a shame that as a society we must place the blame onto someone else for every thing that happens. For that matter I don’t think it is true but I will even carry the blame for this out break. 8 to 10 children sick, 800 to 1000 people a week drink. That is a 1 to 2 percent chance you will get sick in five years. No food comes with a 0 risk. I do not personally think that society will be wiped out by the 1 to 2 percent risk of drinking milk. I believe that it helps more than it hurts as all real foods do and that is what keeps me producing. Every time a farmer gives up due to the 1 to 2 percent inherited risk of food that leaves us closer to no choice but deep fried twinki burgers and pink slime burgers. I guess those have a 0 risk if you look at bacteria, maybe we should be looking at some other risk factors like cancer and autoimmune and obesity not just can a bacteria grow in this food.

I have learned my lesson in this. I have not just a good God but I have the All Mighty, All Consuming, All Powerful God and I will rest in that. And he will hold this all and he already knows the end. And I will continue producing milk the way God Intended it.

rawmilkmike
November 10, 2013

Thank you Ken.

rawmilkmike
November 10, 2013

What is “DNA for the toxin produced by E. coli O157”? Does “the toxin produced by E. coli O157” have “DNA”? If the samples were actually positive for E. coli O157 wouldn’t they have just said that?
……………………………………….
“one raw-milk sample obtained from a consumer and several manure samples collected from the farm revealed the presence of DNA for the toxin produced by E. coli O157 that causes HUS.”
…………………………………………
From food safety attorney Bill Marler’s Food Safety News. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/11/tn-raw-milk-dairy-linked-to-e-coli-outbreak-reboots-business/#.Un-B8HCOSyt Linked by Mary McGonigle

f1baja
November 10, 2013

Great response Sarah Jane. That is the most detailed, even sided post I’ve heard. Thanks.

rawmilkmike
November 10, 2013

The only test I’ve ever heard of showing that x amount of E. coli could possibly cause diarrhea in some people some of the time went something like this: 10 people are given increasing doses of E. coli O157 over a 10 day period until 1 person gets diarrhea. The problem with this type of study is that any group of 10 people over a 10 day period will likely to have at least 1 case of diarrhea whether they are given E. coli O157 or not.
……………………………………….
The CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages.
……………………………………….
Here is a disruption of the most serious Foodborne illness. Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to drink water.
……………………………………………
Because antibiotic therapy in patients with STEC infections might be associated with more severe disease, prompt diagnosis is needed to ensure proper treatment.
…………………………………………..
(HUS), an illness that may lead to kidney failure and even death if treated improperly.
……………………………………..
Recently, the increased use of enzyme immunoassay (EIA) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect Shiga toxin or the genes that encode the toxins (stx1 andstx2) has facilitated the diagnosis of both O157 and non-O157 STEC infections. Although EIA and other nonculture tests are useful tools for diagnosing STEC infection, they should not replace culture; a pure culture of the pathogen obtained by the clinical laboratory (O157 STEC) or the public health laboratory (non-O157 STEC) is needed for serotyping and molecular characterization (e.g., pulsed-field gel electrophoresis [PFGE] patterns), which are essential for detecting, investigating, and controlling STEC outbreaks.
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5812a1.htm
……………………………………..
Shiga-toxin
The most common sources for Shiga toxin are the bacteria S. dysenteriae and the Shigatoxigenic group of Escherichia coli (STEC), which includesserotypes O157:H7, O104:H4, and other enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC).
…………………………………………
Shiga toxins act to inhibit protein synthesis within target cells. After entering a cell via a macropinosome, the protein functions as an N-glycosidase, cleaving a specific adeninenucleobase from the 28S RNA of the 60S subunit of the ribosome, thereby halting protein synthesis.
………………………………………….
The toxin has two subunits— The B subunit is apentamer that binds to specific glycolipids on the host cell, specifically globotriaosylceramide (Gb3). Following this, the A subunit’s A1 component then binds to the ribosome, disrupting protein synthesis.

rawmilkmike
November 10, 2013

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” Upton Sinclair

rawmilkmike
November 10, 2013

Amen, McBee.

Mary McGonigle-Martin
November 10, 2013

Mike, you really don’t grasp HUS at all. What you have written is ludicrous. Little Kylee wasn’t even 2. She drank multiple servings contaminated milk and developed a severe case of HUS. Do you realize she had a stroke and died? They were able to bring her back to life, but with neurological damage done.

Mary McGonigle-Martin
November 10, 2013

This wouldn’t be your tune if your child was in the hospital with HUS. I can guarantee you would never drink or produce raw milk again. It is easy to rationalize when your child is not doing the suffering.

Pete
November 10, 2013

And manganese confers resistance to the Shiga toxin.

Naturalguy
November 10, 2013

First, Prayers for those sick.
I am a whole food advocate and have been for a very long time. Yes there are huge problems with the way the agro-industry and the US government is linked and what the public is being told. Yes people have agendas and they are linked to money. I love small farms and support choice and really want the McBees to succeed in their business. But reading this it seems people are quite illogical and are linking sick people to government conspiracy. Not everything is a conspiracy. I would hope that the McBee’s learn from this and try to make their product better and safer.
However raw milk, while a great product and healthy as long as it is not contaminated, does pose one of the highest risks of contamination. I have read several articles on this issue and have followed it from the start. McBee says she has all the tests and they are negative. So does that mean we will see a law suit in the near future for bad journalism? Because it has been reported that some of the consumer milk was positive for E. Coli. It has been reported that the same E. Coli was found in fecal matter from cows on the farm. Genetic markers indicated it is the same strain, yes all living things have DNA so it is traceable.
What also has been reported and McBee states here is that 9 people got sick that drank milk from her. She states that 1000 people (high #) a week get milk from her. She concludes that there is a 1 to 2 % chance of people getting sick. That sounds low. Lets look at this with the same logic, as well as RAWMILKMIKE concluding it could be something else. Until you look at who gets sick, the young, old and people with compromised immune systems. Some of the very people who drink raw milk for its health benefits (there are many). Then you take the fact that in 2012 the census says that there are 182,200 people in Knox county alone. Of the people who were sick and hospitalized all drank milk from McBee Dairy. In #s 9 people is 0.0049% of the population of Knox county. I would bet that some of those people live outside of Knox county. Of those people reporting symptoms 100% drank milk from McBee Dairy. It should not take a genius to conclude that there could be an issue at the McBee dairy. It is diagnostic process. The HD was trying to find the bug. If Mike is correct that it is some other commercial source and 0.0049% of the population of Knox county who just happened to be drinking raw milk from the same location also ate contaminated tomatoes that 182,191 of the rest of the population somehow avoided that seems like a statical impossibility. I could be wrong.
Now McBee says her tests were negative and I am sure they are. However when she says the tests are negative does that include the fecal tests? Or just the milk test? She states she has all the test data. Does that include her customers milk from the families that are sick?
Knowing how E. Coli gets into milk one could conclude that it is possible for fecal material to get into the receiver jar, holding tank, containers, sealing lids, transport lines, suction lines, hands of the persons milking and so forth. Then that contaminated milk go out to the consumers. The entire milking system is sterilized as soon as the milk is removed from it for the next milking and the contamination would be away from the milking equipment. So unless there is contamination on a daily basis the milk in the parlor and holding tank will test negative.
I do not say this stuff to chastise McBee or her farm. I am glad there are producers like her. But to deny that contamination is a possibly is wrong. To deny that her dairy could have been the source and claim that she is the victim is not correct on her part. I drink raw milk. I have worked on a dairy. It is a risk that people who drink raw milk take. That is a choice and you should have that choice. However if you are a parent you are making that choice for your child, your child is dependent on you to make the correct choice. If you have a compromised immune system I would suggest you look very close at your choice.
I wish the McBees luck and hope they succeed. I really hope they take this incident to heart and review their practices, I am not suggesting they did anything wrong, and try to make changes that will ensure the health of their costumers. God did intend us to eat naturally, he also gave us common sense.
I know almost everyone here is a raw milk advocate. I am as well. McBee makes the consumers sign a waver and states in interviews that there is a contamination risk with raw milk. Then when something like this occurs all these people say it cannot be the milk and make wild accusations and conspiracy theories and crazy jumps in logic. When if we want this industry to survive it would be much better and healthier for us all to admit it is a possibility and even a probability. Try to learn from the problems and come up with ways to correct or reduce the possibility of future contamination. Then educate people so they can make a healthy choice.

rawmilkmike
November 10, 2013

Mary, “Caveat Emptor, Let the buyer beware.” Doesn’t just apply to buying food. It also applies to healthcare. We have a responsibility to know what our doctor is selling us.
…………………………………
Most children who have gastroenteritis recover fully in 2 or 3 days and do not develop HUS.

HUS, a disease that destroys red blood cells, is the most common cause of sudden, short-term-acute-kidney failure in children. Although HUS can cause serious complications and can even be life threatening, most children who develop HUS recover without permanent damage to their health.

Treatments, which consist of maintaining normal salt and water levels in the body, are aimed at easing the immediate symptoms and preventing further problems.

http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/childkidneydiseases/hemolytic_uremic_syndrome/

If you have an E. coli O157:H7 infection, the CDC recommends that you DO NOT TAKE ANTIBIOTICS. According to the CDC, few, if any, positive effects of antibiotics have been shown on Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections. In fact, some antibiotics have been found to increase the duration and severity of associated diarrhea (1,2). Antibiotics have also been implicated as a contributing factor for the development of a potentially lethal complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), especially in children.
…………………………………………………………..
They also found that treatment with intravenous cephalosporin greatly increased the chances of developing HUS (18.2%).
………………………………………………………….
Severe abdominal pain typically accompanies E. coli O157:H7 infections, and one may be tempted to take pain medication. Typical medications used with abdominal pain–antimotility drugs, anticholinergic agents, and opioid narcotic–relax the muscles of the digestive tract, which can relieve cramping pain and increase water absorption resulting in less watery stools. However, relaxation of the muscles controlling the intestines also allows the pathogen and associated toxins to be further absorbed and can result in longer and more severe bloody diarrhea (5). A study by Bell et al. found that children treated with antimotility agents had approximately a 2 times greater risk for developing HUS (6). According to this study, common antimotility agents to avoid would include loperamide (Imodium®) and dephnoxylate (Lomotil®).
http://www.ecolilawyer.com/e-coli-o157h7/avoid-antibiotics/

Sense there is no proof that little Kylee’s milk was contaminated and no research to suggest that it would cause diarrhea even if it were, don’t you think it would be much easier to sue the doctor for malpractice?

null.set
November 10, 2013

the fundamental flaw in yr logic, Natural Guy, is : accepting the DNA pulse-field gel test as the “holy grail” for absolute proof. Last time ’round, when the authorities were putting Organic Pastures Dairy under the microscope, there were 30+ reports of PRECISELY that same DNA pattern, from locations OTHER THAN his neighbourhood. Bacteria are a] everywhere ; b] being sprayed from above by mysterious programs undeniably linked to the military.
In Burnaby in 2000, I proved that the so-called “eradification” program for the so-called “gypsy moth” was a war-game, testing a new ELISA device for its use in bio-warfare [ manufactured by Response Bio-Medical Corporation ] The manufacturer’s own printed material ( Adams Labs.) admited that the goop contained e. coli. So 1/4 million+ urban residents were doused from on-high with a live bacteria, which these same “health authorities” acknowledge certainly does result in some “adverse incidents” = people getting sick
There’s an awful lot of hard evidence, to substantiate some conspiracy theories.

Naturalguy
November 10, 2013

DNA is proof of genetic strain.
Do the McBee dairy was sprayed by the government or some group of people or industry intending to shut them down? Is that what you are saying? How many consumers do the McBee’s supply? That is worth what to the agro-industry?
seriously dude there are sick kids and not everything is a government conspiracy.

Naturalguy
November 10, 2013

So you contend that there is no possible way the E. coli strain came from the farm?

Deborah - Pacifica
November 10, 2013

Would love to see where it is being reported that there indeed was positive findings of e-coli contamination from the McBees cows and/or farm. The news/media reports that I have found do not state that.

Suzanna
November 10, 2013

It would interesting to know the first course of treatment was undertaken by persons/families who sought conventional medical treatment for food related diarrhea versus those that dealt with the diarrhea in some other way.

How many used some type of food (e.g. rice or barley gruel, yoghurt rice, probiotic capsule etc), kitchen spice (e.g. fennel, cumin, dill, “gripe water” etc for the intestinal pain; turmeric, ginger for inflammation), other herbal/botanical substance (e.g. kutaja for amoebic dysentery) or classical homeopathic remedy (e.g. nux vomica, arsenicum alba, mercurius corrosivus etc) when the symptoms started?

On the continuum of least invasive to most invasive treatments, there a common product or treatment method in use by those who developed complications versus those who did not? Is there a pattern of more (or fewer) serious complications with one type of treatment versus another?

How many used OTC pharma products like Lomotil or Imodium etc versus kitchen based or non pharma products when the diarrhea first presented itself?

We now have several post WWII generations in the US who were raised with the concept of visiting the medical doctor or pharmacist or calling the HMO health nurse for every health concern. As a result, I meet many people who do not know any other first course of action for dealing with nausea, diarrhea, heartburn, flatulence, intestinal griping, phlegm, gall bladder attacks etc. We have more medical treatment in use than ever before yet the nation’s health is lower.

Naturalguy
November 11, 2013

http://www.wate.com/story/23915782/knox-officials-clear-mcbee-dairy-farm-to-resume-operations

KHD is not in the business of tearing down or publishing results good or bad.
By the way Deborah, what is that Chargers vs Broncos score?

jillyb
November 11, 2013

I think what you are failing to understand is that HUS isn’t about diarrhea or a stomach bug. HUS is about the shut down of the kidneys, a major body organ that take toxins out of your body. No kidney function means no pee which means that toxins are traveling around in the body with no where to go. This will kill you. The only intervention is dialysis. It is supportive care. Wait, watch, hope and pray while the shiga toxin makes it way out of the body that can be causing damage to major organs (kidney most common but also can harm the pancreas, heart and brain). No natural treatment will rid the toxin from your blood like dialysis.

Naturalguy
November 11, 2013

David this is your blog and I am sure you are very good at research. I am sure you investigated this out very well. In fact I bet you will put your reputation that your journalism is unbiased. I am sure that in your process you have realized that the Facebook link you have is not correct nor is the age you report the girl that is still in the hospital. She is 5 not 6. That page you link to is not correct.
Perhaps you should read what I said. I said it has been reported, and it has. My hypothesis of contamination could and does occur on dairy farms. You people and your conspiracy theories are a real problem for this industry. Sometimes things are what they are no black helicopters or lawyers of “authorities” trying to destroy someone who owns a dairy farm. The local media has been very good to the McBee’s. There have been more positive stories than negative (if you can call anything negative). The families that are affected have done no negative interviews. As a matter of fact the “authorities” have been very good to the McBee’s. They shut them down but allowed them to reopen very fast after the threat was over. To put this down an attack against the raw milk industry is laughable. I am sure the McBee’s are good people and have a good product. I hope they are not as blind as some people and realize that it is possible that they are the source and look at their process to do their best and address any short comings. This is a sad situation for all involved, anytime raw milk is a potential problem it hurts the industry. But to act like this was a conspiracy and there are no fact to support that the contamination could have come from their farm hurts the cause even more. The real issue dates back to the divergence of how the US treated milk vs how the French treat milk 100 years ago. The lack of regulation and leadership in the raw industry had led to vast differences in quality control. Google such and you will find the media outlets and the phone #s or you can call the KHD and ask them as a journalist. You may find that these people are not willing to tear down the McBees they are just doing their jobs. No agenda just looking out for health. If you want the #s ask Marcie she has published them on her emails. I guess you do not realize it that the KHD is not in the business of publishing information positive or negative. That of course seems in contrast with your lawyer statements. WATE (who has done several stories) is 865-637-6397. Marcie has a direct contact you can ask her for she has published it earlier this month. By the way I am aware of the issues and agree that the FDA and big 4 of the food industry have way too much power and control of laws. However this is not a case of attack from the “authorities” this is a case of public health. I am aware you have an agenda and we probably have very like views. I do see things as they are and not through rose colored glasses. Sometimes a duck is a duck even if you want a chicken. I really do wish the McBees and the whole industry well, and hope it evolves into a choice for a consumer anywhere not just as a share in TN. Maine might be the best US case at this time.

Have a great life.

Mary McGonigle-Martin
November 11, 2013

Naturalguy, awesome post!

Mary McGonigle-Martin
November 11, 2013

David, something to consider. It would be nice if you did a post on E.coli 0157:H7 and HUS to educate everyone about it. There is so much misunderstanding on the topic. It is not a typical case of diarrhea and vomiting. I would write one for you, but I don’t think that would go over very well on this blog.

Grammar Matters
November 11, 2013

You have incorrect info for Maddie. She is actually five and her name is spelled Maddie, rather than Maddy. The Facebook link you provided is also incorrect. The correct link is https://www.facebook.com/praying4maddie. I sincerely hope this mistake wasn’t an intentional act.

Grammar Matters
November 11, 2013

“To date, several raw milk samples, including those most recently collected, have been negative for E. coli, according to the Knox County Health Department. However, one raw milk sample from a consumer and several manure samples from the farm revealed DNA from the toxin that causes Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.” -WATE

SarahJaneS
November 11, 2013

The court order also states that no FURTHER infection has been found since Nov 1st
Someone’s user name is Grammar Matters :-) here’s a prime example

Further means that there was indeed some to start

Suzanna
November 11, 2013

I wasn’t referring to treating cases of HUS once that has developed. I was referring to the treatment of initial symptoms of E. Coli, Salmonella, Campylobactor etc. The HUS seems related to the Shiga toxins that are released when the infection is treated by particular medicines.

I am interested in knowing if any of the initial treatments used to address the initial diarrhea & nausea show a higher or lower rate of complications. If there is a pattern, this would be helpful information to possibly prevent further cases of HUS from developing. Not everyone with these infections develops complications such as HUS.

BTW, there is an alternative to dialysis that will remove toxins from the blood. It is a particular type of steam treatment that moves the toxins out through the sweat. This treatment is used successfully in several Asian countries but not available in the US. The skin is considered the third kidney.

rawmilkmike
November 11, 2013

Thanks Suzanna, that was awesome.

rawmilkmike
November 11, 2013

Thanks again Suzanna, that was even more awesome.

rawmilkmike
November 11, 2013

jillyb, the primary treatment for HUS is the same as for diarrhea; water(electrolytes).

AxTramp
November 11, 2013

Naturalguy: “By the way I am aware of the issues and agree that the FDA and big 4 of the food industry have way too much power and control of laws. However this is not a case of attack from the ‘authorities’ this is a case of public health. I am aware you have an agenda and we probably have very like views.”

Well then your posts might seem to at least suggest more of the “very like views,” Nautralguy. David is focused and has a point. You are random and scatterbrained, and I would guess have never been privileged with the authorities (the “government”) showing up at your own door at at gunpoint if needed to “enforce” laws as obscure and unclear as your posts, have you? Innocent people ARE, in fact, being oppressed by government, routinely and ridiculously.

Best to you in whatever area on the Ivory Tower you inhabit; the rest of us out in the real world will continue fighting fraud and corruption as it exists – not because we have nothing better to do but because it is unconscionable and unacceptable be it visiting upon ourselves or other innocent people in our communities. Apparently only after it visits you personally will you get it, or any portion of what matters most in David’s post here.

Mama
November 11, 2013

OH MY GOSH, DAVID. You wrote that the little girl was 5 instead of 6?? That’s serious misinformation, y’know.
When people start raking you over the coals for mistakes like that, it’s obvious they’re grasping at straws.
Similarly, when someone starts with the emotional “what-if-it-were-your-child” response, I sense a weakness in the argument.
For some weird reason, I’m more inclined to believe the truthfulness of the farmer who probably knows her customers by name and face and doesn’t want to harm them, and additionally has to deal with the possible damage to her business (unlike the unnamed producer of Shop Rite milk, for example).
I have trouble keeping blind faith in government agencies that have no problems with CAFO practices, pesticides on produce, or the U.S. population being unwitting guinea pigs in the GMO feeding experiment.
At least I have a choice to stop patronizing my dairy farmer. It’s far more difficult to do that with GMOs, or poisons on the apples my family eats.
Someone told me yesterday that bananas have something like 17 different poisons on them. How many times have you watched a little kid handle a banana peel? I hope they were mistaken about that statistic :(

Deborah - Pacifica
November 11, 2013

Mike – water is not electrolytes & electrolytes is not water…electrolytes are a compound that dissolve in water.

rawmilkmike
November 11, 2013

SarahJane, “…trying to ignore any sort of problem”? The only thing being ignored is the evidence and the only ones pointing a finger are the $4 trillion a year medical industry and some doctors trying to avoided a malpractice law suit.

The article said “the presence of DNA for the toxin produced by E. coli O157 ” not the presence of E. coli O157 and as far as I know Shiga-toxin doesn’t have DNA.

“I believe Marcie and other raw milk farmers are trying to put out the best possible product that they can. Is there area for improvement? I don’t know, but maybe that’s another area to research and look into. Maybe there’s a way to test every batch before it goes out. Maybe there’s a way to clean differently than what’s being done? A better method for training employees or the importance of taking every step seriously.”? Isn’t it obvious that Marcie is doing all that an more. These people who obviously don’t care about our health, have Marcie running around her farm like a chicken with her head cut off while they sit back on their bleeps with a bleep eating bleep on their faces.

“It can take a piece of infected feces the size of a dust mite on an udder to cause an E. coli infection.”? If there is any evidence to support that you should post it.

“From there, the effected milk was the batch from around the 11-12th.” but the illnesses happened over a 30 day period. How long do you think E. coli O157:H7 can survive in raw milk?

“There’s also a tummy bug going around the community at the same time…” That’s nice to know. You do realize that throws the states case right out the window. The state wants us to believe that there were only 9 cases of diarrhea in the entire area over a 30 day period and that all 9 children drank Marcie’s raw milk. If there’s a tummy bug going around the community as you say, half the community could be sick over a 30 day period. Which would mean Marcie’s milk may have just prevented 441 cases.

rawmilkmike
November 11, 2013

Mary, that would require the parents to blame the raw milk which would require irrationalizing.