Organic Pastures in Raw Dairy Recall After 5 Children Sickened, 3 Hospitalized, by E.Coli O157:H7; Customers Express Support, As OPDC Appeals

Organic Pastures Dairy Co., the nation’s largest raw dairy said it is recalling all its raw dairy products after it was informed by public health authorities that five children were sickened by E.coli 0157:H7. Three were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome.

The Fresno dairy is under quarantine and, according to a press release from the California Department of Food and Agriculture, “Until further notice, Organic Pastures may not produce raw milk products for the retail market. The order also affects Organic Pastures raw butter, raw cream, raw colostrum, and a raw product labeled ‘Qephor.'”

The CDFA release added,  “Interviews with the families indicate that the only common reported food exposure is unpasteurized (raw) milk from Organic Pastures dairy. Three of the five children were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that may lead to kidney failure. There have been no deaths. Surveys indicate that only about three percent of the public report drinking raw milk in any given week so finding 100% of these children drank raw milk and the absence of other common foods or animal exposures indicates the Organic Pastures raw milk is the likely source of their infection. “

Two of the children were reported by the authorities to still be hospitalized, according to OPDC’s owner, Mark McAfee.

He said he was notified at noon today by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Food and Agriculture that “over the course of an eight-week period” in August, September, and October, five children who had been reported to have consumed raw milk tested positive for E. Coli O157:H7.

 

Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy Co. (right) with Michael Schmidt at the Weston A. Price Foundation national conference after they announced plans on Saturday for an alliance of RAWMI with Cow Share Canada. According to McAfee, all pathogen tests completed on the dairy’s products by the public health authorities and a private lab commissioned by OPDC have been negative. In addition, “It has been reported to us by the California Department of Public Health that as of today all products collected from the ill patients have been negative for E. Coli O157:H7.”

One mother of a sick child, Melissa DeVore, reported on the OPDC Facebook page, “My son was one of the E.coli children. He was a lucky one who didn’t have to be hospitalized. My heart goes out to those whose children were in the ICU.” She added: “It is my belief drinking raw milk, mostly OPDC, was the reason he didn’t have a more serious reaction to the bacteria. I have and will continue to use your product when it is available again.”

McAfee said he doesn’t know the other four families affected, but hopes they will post on OPDC’s Facebook page or otherwise alert him of their identities. “As a family owned company, my wife and I would like to reach out to the families of these affected loved ones.  Our heart goes out to them for a speedy recovery.”

McAfee also said he hopes to have results tomorrow of environmental tests conducted on OPDC facilities by public health and CDFA personnel today. Of the regulators, McAfee added, “Everyone has treated us with respect. We have dedicated ourselves to find out fully what has happened.”

He added that OPDC is having manure tests carried out on all his dairy’s 400 cows.

Today’s incident, of course, brings to mind a similar set of circumstances in September 2006, when six children were allegedly sickened by E.coli O157:H7 in OPDC milk. Two of the children were hospitalized at that time, as well, with serious illnesses.

One thing that seems to be different this time around is McAfee’s reaction. In 2006, he expressed strong denials about the likely connection to OPDC, and the incident became a source of long-standing controversy. This time, he seems determined to be cooperative and get to the bottom of any problems.

“We don’t guarantee perfection,” he said. “We aren’t going to shudder from responsibility.”

Recalls never come at a good time, but this one seems especially awkward, coming as it does just as McAfee was in the process of launching the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI), which is geared toward promoting raw milk safety and research.

In the meantime, comments on the OPDC Facebook page suggest not even a little bit of fright among customers over the outbreak. Rather, there seems a combination of concern about those sickened, and worry about where customers will get their raw milk during the recall. Sarah Romanov said, “So sad about this! Praying it gets resolved soon so we can get more of your delicious milk…my daughter (18 months) drinks it every day! Not sure what I’m going to give her in the meantime…maybe coconut milk?

And Crystal Bauman: “We are sad to hear that, and had an order in for 4 half gallons to pick up tomorrow at our local co-op. We will be buying it as soon as it is available and hope this gets cleared up soon. We love raw milk and are grateful that you supply it.”

Some seemed in denial. Elaine Mudrick Tom stated: “So, I’m assuming that if I go to the store tomorrow to stock up, that’s it’s already recalled. I pray for those sick children for whatever DID make them sick, but it wasn’t OPDC.”

McAfee said he hopes to have raw dairy products back on the market “in seven days.”

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53 Comments on "Organic Pastures in Raw Dairy Recall After 5 Children Sickened, 3 Hospitalized, by E.Coli O157:H7; Customers Express Support, As OPDC Appeals"


Nourish Yourself
November 16, 2011

Just back from Dallas, wonderful conference, wonderful food and wonderful people!
Prayers for the families of the sick children. I know the source will be found (like spinach was in 2006) and have much confidence in OPDC raw milk.

Gordon Watson
November 16, 2011

something very, very fishy going on here … govt. authorities waiting up to 3 months ( in some purported cases) to raise an alarm? I don't believe it
More likely than any other explanation is = sabotage

Gwen elderberry
November 16, 2011

I'm sorry to hear this. It is plausible that all 5 children were concurrently exposed by something else, but health authorities are not going to take that risk.

Sylvia Gibson
November 16, 2011

"infected, from August through October, " Why are we just now hearing about it? Why only 5 kids ill? And spread out so far apart in California? It would seem that more would be ill over that long a time frame if the milk was contaminated.

"epidemiologic data collected by the California Department of Public Health link the illnesses with Organic Pastures raw milk. "

Why have they not stated what that data is? Being vague does not encourage trust.

Bryan - oz4caster
November 16, 2011

I'd like to know how many children had Ecoli 0157:H7 in California during that three month period. Were these the only ones? Were any other people infected? Even if there were no other infections, epidemiological evidence can never prove cause and effect by itself. I believe direct evidence must be found in product or on the farm to provide a convincing connection.

Mary Martin
November 16, 2011

So sad for all.

Mark McAfee
November 16, 2011

David,

Thank you for the post. Our Press Release pretty much covers the facts as we know them. I find one particular FB post and statement from a mom of a sickened child fascinating. She said "Mostly OPDC" what does that mean??? Was there other raw milk consumed? When 75000 people consume raw milk from OPDC each week and a couple of people get sick, it is essential to know if it is OPDC or not. CDFA and others can not confirm this for us. Remember that this series of five illnesses occurred randomly over the state at different times over 2 months from batches of raw milk that all tested negative. Something just does not seem right.

We have found just one child and the mom is eternally grateful for OPDC raw milk and never stopped consuming them. Her child was not hospitalized as Dave reported above. We are on a search for the other four patients? We have no information on them. Only 2 were hospitalized.

This information is up to three months old. There are no cap dates available, all of the raw milk samples provided by the families to the health departments were tested and all results were negative. This happened months ago. All 25 tests in that time period were all negative.

The investigation will be complete by tomorrow afternoon.

We are blessed with the incredible support and love shown by our wonderful consumers. Our highest priority is the recovery of any one sickened. When all the data is in and the investigation is complete we will share the data with everyone.

Kristen Papac
November 16, 2011

@Nourish yourself,

"In the following days, four additional cases of E. coli O157:H7 were identified. All of the additional cases had consumed raw milk or raw cow colostrum sold by Organic Pastures. Isolates of the E. coli O157:H7 cultured from the five culture-positive patients had indistinguishable genetic fingerprints as determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) testing. These PFGE patterns were new to the national PulseNet database. In other words, the pattern associated with all of these children was unique, and had not been seen before in conjunction with any other outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7. In addition, the PFGE pattern differed markedly from the patterns associated with the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 associated with Dole fresh-bagged baby spinach that had peaked a few weeks prior to these illnesses."

It wasn't the spinach in 2006, and it won't be whatever other ecoli 0157:H7 outbreak was going on at the same time as this OPDC outbreak.

My heart goes out to the families suffering.

Can someone please explain this logic, because I don't get it:
"It is my belief drinking raw milk, mostly OPDC, was the reason he didn't have a more serious reaction to the bacteria. I have and will continue to use your product when it is available again."

If all the kids drank raw milk, then why is her child special and didn't get a serious reaction?

Ho hum, I will try to get Claravale's but it will probably be out of stock. Good thing I can buy Strauss which is grass-fed, non-homogonized and *gasp* gently pasteurized.

Kristen

Dave Milano
November 16, 2011

Michael and all,

Attacks on Mark aside, there are very legitimate concerns about RAWMI.

I find it helpful when considering such things to start by stepping back and taking a good long look at history, which for milk is happily about as long as our historical record. What do we see there? One very important foundational element bubbles up immediately: Man has lived healthfully with milk for the vast majority of his existence.

So naturally then the question arises, Why have we decided, during this most tiny sliver of human history, that the new inventions of third-party certifications, laboratories, and the assiduous chasing down of certain microbes, is essential to producing healthful milk? Clearly it is not because of the inherent qualities of natural milk, the basic biological mechanisms of which have not changed, and in historical terms have not been a problem. Why then?

I can think of a few possibilities. Perhaps it is because the consumer is suddenly more susceptible to illness. Or perhaps because milk production processes have changed for the worse. Or perhaps because our current life-paradigm defines all things as either for us or against us, and commands us to fight to the death all identified foes (including biological ones). I can believe that all these things are true. None, however, are any reason at all to blame natural milk. Yet that is exactly what all our many third-party systems, and by all signs this includes RAWMI, do.

Why not instead work to change the actual problems?

Well, that is being done all over the place, with non-corporate, non-governmental, grassroots, human-scale food arrangements (much along the lines of what Violet described earlier as small, local. . . no middlemen such as bottlers or distributors). Do we understand what is happening here?

I am one who believes that we will not, in fact cannot, correct our many health problems without first returning our residential landscapes into the diversified, farm-integrated, non-chemical dependent entities that we once enjoyed. This is what the best local food arrangements do. They bring good farms and good farmers together with consumers, not only socially and economically, but biologicallythe latter being a life-enhancing advantage of inestimable value that we have been taught to ignore.

I worry that RAWMI, based as it is on a model of delivering milk from a central source over many miles to many people in many regions, will demean and stifle local, human-scale food arrangements, just like so many other third-party systems have done. That would be a shame and a sin.

We do not fully understand the benefits of farm-consumer integration, nor the dangers of isolating consumers from farms. We are getting hints and signals every day, from sources as varied as research on horizontal gene transfer to average folks expressing faith and confidence in the intentions of neighbors and friends. Can we learn from this?

In my opinion it is the small cell, the face-to-face contact, the open mind willing to envision a future dramatically different that the one we have built over the past hundred or so years, that will save us. Mark has said that this is Utopian thinking that cannot work. It is the opposite, for Utopian-ism is about building what is not natural, and attempting to force it on the natural world. Local, small, human-scale is natural. Let it happen.

Ken Conrad
November 16, 2011

Dave, Very well said.

I to am one who believes that, we will not, in fact cannot, correct our many health problems without first returning our residential landscapes into the diversified, farm-integrated, non-chemical dependent entities that we once enjoyed.

Bryan
It would indeed be interesting to know how many children/people had Ecoli 0157:H7 in California during that three month period.
When one considers the ambiguity surrounding epidemiological results, regulators can get away with accusing anyone of anything despite the presence of actual evidence.

Mary
It is indeed sad this world which we have or has been concocted for us all. As Dave succinctly suggested, our current life-paradigm defines all things as either for us or against us, and commands us to fight to the death all identified foes (including biological ones).

Ken Conrad

Gail Houze
November 16, 2011

The ill children and their families are in my prayers. I know how awful it is to watch one's child suffer.
I did want to pass on something that I learned recently, for what it's worth. I was talking to another mom at soccer a few weeks ago and she mentioned that her daughter had contracted E. coli at a family reunion (I don't know what strain). The health department said that they may never find the source of infection. They did say that while it may have been food consumed at the reunion, the infection could have come from the pool where they were staying or even from the ocean. The reunion took place shortly after Hurricane Irene went through and the health department said that the storm "stirred up the bottom" near the shore. Apparently E. coli is not always a food borne illness, but I'm sure that once someone mentions consuming raw milk, it's considered an open and shut case. Raw milk may be the disease vector, but perhaps not. I think that it may be wise for the health department to cast their net a little wider to determine the source of the illnesses.
Gail

The Complete Patient
November 17, 2011

Kristen Papec,
The mother of the sick child who was thankful her child was only mildly ill apparently feels the situation could have been a lot worse if the child hadn't built up immunity to E.coli O157:H7 from having consumed lots of raw milk in the past That's an assumption we'll probably not be able to answer for certain. There has been discussion here in the past that children who have never consumed raw milk seem to be at higher risk of getting sick if there are pathogens in the milk. The two children who became most seriously ill in the 2006 CA outbreak were newbies to raw milk.

Part of the problem with trying to dissect an outbreak like this (or most of the outbreaks that occur around the country involving all variety of foods) is that there is much we don't know. We don't know why many thousands of people can consume a contaminated food and be fine, while a few become ill. We don't know why some become mildly ill and some become very seriously ill. Do some have a genetic predisposition? Was it the fact that some were treated recently with antibiotics? Or are diabetics? Is it possible to reliably build up immunity to the pathogens so we don't have to worry about them? On and on the questions go.

We as a society have essentially decided to focus on ridding ourselves of the troublesome pathogens as opposed to making it a high priority to obtain answers to the more fundamental questions of the sort I just posed. Without reliable science-based answers, we are left to make our own observations, and our own judgments about the risk we are willing to tolerate.

David

Kristen Papac
November 17, 2011

David,

Thank you for taking the time to write that informative response. Very interesting indeed.

It seems we won't know a lot about this specific outbreak for at least a few years, right? In the 2006 incident, the CDC didn't release it's report until 2009, am I correct?

Yes, we need more reliable science based answers. You and I are in agreement on that point!

Kristen

Max Becher
November 17, 2011

Dave Milano, I have to agree. I am also concerned about RAWMI. It is well-intentioned, and I really hate being a voice of division in the food freedom movement, but I fear that is will be an unnecessary obstacle to entrepreneur wannabe dairy farmers trying to enter the market. The idea is good, but comes from the mentality that some higher third-party group has to watch over everybody.

I prefer Joel Salatin's idea of simply providing exceptions for direct-marketed (and de facto local) farm operations, because they are inherently self-policed. They don't need a third party to certify them, because the customers certify it themselves. The family that I buy raw milk from is not certified/tested by anybody, but I trust them completely, know them personally, have walked all over their farm multiple times, and know they are clean.

Providing an exception like that would be the perfect mean between naive utopian-ism and third-party control. Those who distribute to retail outlets would be held accountable by certification requirements, since customers cannot easily make a personal judgement themselves. And, there will be an incentive for farmers and wannabe farmers to start local-direct marketing methods, because they will have less red tape to deal with. I think we would then see more and more young people enter the market and supplying the growing demand for raw milk at a local level.

As Joel says, there's no perfect world this side of paradise. A life of freedom simply involves some risk and personal responsibility. I don't know exactly what the best solution to food freedom and safety is, but this one seems the best balance to me. I've got an open mind though, and would change my mind if I saw that RAWMI really was necessary. I have great gratitude to Mark McAfee for all that he does.

Kristen Papac
November 17, 2011

"Morning Update: it is the common goal of OPDC and CDFA to rapidly investigate any linkage between any cases of raw milk and illness. All tests on OPDC products have been found negative for E. Coli 0157:H7 associated with these reported illnesses; additionally, all historical records for our products have shown negative test results for E. Coli 0157:H7.

This morning, we urge the families connected to the E. Coli investigation to contact us at 559.903.2745. This is the number to Kaleigh Lutz (Marketing and daughter of Mark, the owner). In the last 24 hours, we have discovered that the questionable raw milk may be coming from other unbranded sources. This is not to say that we are not respecting the investigation process, but we are working with CDFA to quickly resolve this investigation and we need more information.

We will be meeting with CDFA at 10am at a hearing to appeal this recall. Press Conference will be held at our dairy at 12 noon today.

We will keep you posted as more information comes."

Please pay attention to this line:
"In the last 24 hours, we have discovered that the questionable raw milk may be coming from other unbranded sources."

Is OPDC going after herd shares now? Deflecting the blame? How likely is it that the 5 cases, spread out in 5 different counties from Sacramento county to San Diego all drank these questionable unbranded milk sources? How likely is it that all of these cases will have the same genetic blueprint (like last time, which was different from the spinach blueprint) meaning they came from the one, same source? What is the likelihood that these "unbranded raw milk" sources will ever be named in the CDFA report, or from any media source for that matter?

Watching, aghast!

Ron Klein
November 17, 2011

The issues of microbial infection and host protection may be even more complicated.

In the October 14 issue of Science there is a well done report and review of trecent research identifying a lectin like molecule secreted in the gut that has antimicrobial activity. The molecule was found within the mucosal lining of the intestine. The investigators speculate that there may be many more similar molecules secreted by the host that are an important line of defense against microbial infection/invasion through the lining of the GI tract. The authors suggest the antibacterial function may be critical for its role in limiting infection by antibiotic resistant Gram positive bacteria Perhaps this study indicates another heretofore unknown line of defense against infection in addition to the immune system.

Sylvia Gibson
November 17, 2011

http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/egov/press_releases/Press_Release.asp?PRnum=11-064

Interviews with the families indicate that the only common reported food exposure is unpasteurized (raw) milk from Organic Pastures dairy."

Per the press release, the families are stating the milk was from OP. I still don't understand why only 5 became ill in an 8 week period and spread over such a large area, when so many consume the product? Why no e-coli found on the property?

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45326017/ns/today-today_health/t/raw-milk-recalled-after-children-sickened-e-coli/#.TsQo1nKwU7U

"Samples of the milk actually consumed by the children also didn't reveal E.coli. "

Then how can they blame OP?

The lack of information and facts with accusations from the state looks like a lynching.

Luke Timmons
November 17, 2011

For any other food (EXCEPT RAW MILK), authorities actually test and prove that the product in question is/was contaminated with the matching strain (i.e. hazelnuts, spinach, etc.) before accusing farmers and removing their products from the shelves. With an average of about 250 cases of E. Coli 0157:H7 in California each year, the 5 infected children mentioned here would be part of over 60 cases during the same 3-month period. Authorities are being deceitful in stating that 100% of the 5 infected children drank OPDC milk – as if these children were the only cases over the 3-month period. So what about the other 55 people? Folks, this is not a causal relationship; it's hogwash.

Milky Way
November 17, 2011

Sylvia,

Take a look at the epidemic curve and timeline of this national outbreak (a product with a much wider distribution compared with OPDC).

http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/cantaloupes-jensen-farms/110211/timeline.html

Do you think they "lynched" the company too late, too early or just right?

MW

Mary Martin
November 17, 2011

This is what the News Release states: While laboratory samples of Organic Pastures raw milk have not detected E. coli 0157:H7 contamination, epidemiologic data collected by the California Department of Public Health link the illnesses with Organic Pastures raw milk.

It does not state that they were samples taken from what the children consumed. It could have been samples taken from milk sold on the shelves.

Mary Martin
November 17, 2011

I posted this a yesterday on the last thread and it may not have been read. I really do know a lot about all of this if anyone has questions.

I would like to address the question as to what took so long to connect the kids to each other. Unlike the 2006 outbreak, this outbreak seems to be more ongoing. The common food consumed did not contaminate the children in the same timeframe. For example, when the first child became ill in August, the E.coi 0157:H7 blueprint gets recorded in the database and is sent to the CDCs PulseNet. http://www.cdc.gov/pulsenet/

Lets say the next child became ill sometime in September. Again, the blueprint of E.coli gets recorded and sent the PulseNet. Someone at PulseNet checks for outbreaks; two matching E.coli 0157:H7 blueprints is all it takes to determine an outbreak. Once this is discovered the California department of public health would be contacted about the information. Public health nurses would now contact the families to determine a common food consumed, restaurant visited, body of water played in, petting zoo visited, etc. While they are doing this, more ill kids appear. They now have to interview these families. This is why it takes so long.

In 2006, two of the kids ended up at the same childrens hospital, parents discovered they both drank raw milk and one of the moms called CDFA to report the ill kids. Even when this happened it took two weeks to connect the dots. My son entered the hospital on September 7th and the recall did not take place until September 22nd. Discovering an outbreak takes time.
November 15, 2011 | Mary Martin

Mary Martin
November 17, 2011

Here is the testing for 2011 posted on the OPDC website http://organicpastures.com/pdfs/Bacteria%20Counts10.11.pdf

I count 8 recording for August, September and October. Maybe the later dates arent recorded yet, so lets say he tested 4 times in October and 2 times in November. That is 12 times plus the states monthly testing. That would be a total of 16 times he tested his milk.

If you add up all the days in August, September October and 15 in November, that is a total of 107 days. Between the state and Mark, the milk was tested 16 times out of 107 days. This means 91 days of the milk being delivered to customers was not tested.

Cows are also milked twice a day. I would assume that testing is done on only one of the milkings.

Sylvia Gibson
November 17, 2011

"The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced the recall and quarantine on Tuesday. It said laboratory samples of Organic Pastures raw milk had not detected the strain of E. coli that sickened the children. Samples of the milk actually consumed by the children also didn't reveal E.coli. "

MSNBC was stating what CDFA said to them.

Mary Martin
November 17, 2011

That is an interesting theory about the cow shares.

I would assume that most cow shares are very small, local operations and that you have to be a member of a cow share to have access to the milk. But somehow all 5 ill children sprinkled throughout Northern, Central and Southern California all drank raw milk from the same cow share program and also happened to drink OPDC milk.

Sounds like a stretch. It is the beginning of the war facts. I know this game well.

Mary Martin
November 17, 2011

The tricky thing about testing the milk the actual child or children drank is that we dont know the details. When the word children is used, we assume there was more than one bottle tested. Or were there siblings who became ill and the word children is used and there was one bottle tested.

If you drink milk daily and have a few children, it disappears quickly. It took Chris 4 days to start the diarrhea and then it takes another 3 days to get testing back on a fecal sample. You are now at 7 days.

Was the milk tested a bottle that for some reason after a week or longer wasnt consumed, or was it in the trash and they tested what little was left in there. Or was it a bottle of milk that was purchased at the same time, but it wasnt the bottle that was actually consumed.

How long was the milk either sitting in the refrigerator or trash can before it was tested? The bacteria are going to die off naturally over time. I can tell you based on experience, by the time the tests results come back positive for E.coli 0157:H7, the diagnosis of HUS is right around the corner. The typical child is diagnosed on day 6 to 8 of an E.coli 157:H7 infection. No parent is going to be rushing home to have the bottle of milk tested.

My guess is the milk was at least two or three weeks old by the time it was tested. Wouldnt it start to ferment by then?

There are not enough details to know what testing the bottle really means.

Amanda Rose
November 17, 2011

Those herd shares obviously need to be stopped. They have some nerve infecting the OPDC customer base.

Mom to Boys
November 17, 2011

I thought I left this behind in Wisconsin. I waltzed in to my neighborhood store in California this morning when I found out there wouldn't be any milk for a while. The dairy guy said they hadn't found anything wrong with the milk, but it's still being recalled??? Did DATCP follow me to California???

When there was an outbreak in Wisconsin, our familly was called by the health department as we just returned from a vacation in Michigan where my husband and kids were sick with campylobacter from eating lunchmeat. The nurse kept asking if we drank raw milk (which we hadn't since we were on vacation and away). She asked 5-6 times if we drank raw milk during a certain time period and I kept telling her no. She never repeated any other food, and it was clear to the medical staff in Michigan that it was this lunchmeat that everyone ate (except for me and I didn't get sick). Well, I'm sure that our names are on the list of who got sick because of raw milk. It was as if they were just looking for raw milk, and it didn't matter what other exposures you had. I don't trust the health department at all.

If the milk has tested negative then why have they taken if ott the shelves? The government doesn't treat other food companies/restaurants this way. This is an over reach!!! Well, back to putting forth great effort to obtain the raw milk my family needs. At least this time I don't have to look over my shoulder in doing so.

Sylvia Gibson
November 17, 2011

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/calif-officials-recall-raw-milk-products-from-dairy-after-e-coli-sends-3-kids-to-hospital/2011/11/16/gIQAhfdgRN_story.html

According to the Washington Post "Samples of the milk actually consumed by the children also didnt reveal E.coli." It doesn't say when the samples were taken…. I've no doubt that if they were positive, the govt would be shouting very loudly.

Violet Willis
November 17, 2011

I agree with Sylvia's posts that we cannot confirm that Mark's milk is the culprit here . . .

BUT . . .Manure samples that were taken a few days ago . . . what do they reveal?

Mark must have known about this investigation a few weeks ago . . . before he went to the WAP Convention . . .

Mark . . . How many of your Organic cows went to the butcher between August and November?

Perhaps one of those carcasses hold's the answer to this question . . .

Kind regards,

Violet
http://www.kilbyridgefarmmaine.blogspot.com

Mark McAfee
November 17, 2011

Lets have a little poll. I need a jury!?

Mary Martins voice was all over our local Channel 30 news today with her 2006 story of Ecoli illness and she even shared a picture of her son on a ventilator. Horrible shot and very scary for anyone to view.

The insurance settlement ( which can not be shared according to stipulated terms ) has specific langauge about settlement and peace among the parties. I will not state the exact terms becuase I respect the terms and conditions.

Marys manure speading was done in the name of http://www.realmilkfacts.com, AKA Bill Marlers anti-raw milk attack dog website.

I have been getting calls from customers asking if Chris Martin is still in the ICU and whether he got sick again or what the hell???!!

Ok…how many of you think that Marys conduct is misleading and a breach of what would be considered a settlement. In my heart, when an insurance company settles with parties for good money…you should take your marbles home and be content. Instead, five years later, Mary and Bill have joined forces to seriously injured and misled OPDC consumers about this 2011 incident, which is not even figuered out yet.

How many of you think that Mary and Bill are breaching reasonable terms of settlement by doing this. You be my jury….shall I sue both of them? How much should I sue them for??

What say you?? Lets try them in the open court of public opinion.

Any opening statements?

On a personal note…I had a very good cry this morning to let this all out. It felt good to let it all out. The WAP conference, Michael, RAWMI start up, seeing Mary Martins TV story, talking with 30 media outlets, being visited by a multiagency task force, appealing the recall in a hearing this morning in the quickest kangaroo court of all time….was enough to make this old paramedic let it all out.

I am committed to working with my CDFA inspector to get product back on shelves as soon as possible. We have a plan and we are working 20 hours a day to get everything done immediatley to complete the list. All enviromental tests were done today. We are just waiting and making cheese now.

Our OPDC consumers are solidly behind us and I have never felt stronger or more determined to move forward in this market. I am emotionally breathing and respiring….I feel very solid and focused.

Thank you to everyone.

Mark

Violet Willis
November 17, 2011

So, Mark in the spirit of RAWMI transparency . . . please answer my question. . . . how many of your organic milking cows went to the butcher between August and November?

Kind regards,

Violet
http://www.kilbyridgefarmmaine.blogspot.com

Mary Martin
November 17, 2011

Mark, youre using war facts again. You know the mediation agreement is about discussing the amount of the settlement.

Im sure you were a bit surprised to see me show up at your press release. You forgot the link. http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/ag_watch&id=8433639

Bill Marler
November 17, 2011

Wow, I seem to be living in a loop between 2006 and 2011. How can I get off this merry-go-round?

Mark, you wanted me to be one of your chief funders for RAWMI and now you are threatening to sue me? Good grief.

Mark, share the link with the offensive news report? Mary did not breach the settlement agreement at all. You need to focus on the issues at hand – five kids sick with three with HUS.

If you want to sue Mary, do it. I would be honored to defend her.

Alice Riccabona
November 17, 2011

@Mary Martin & Bill Marler,

You might not be able to discuss the terms of the settlement, but a quick web search can give an idea of what you were asking in terms of damages and potential future lost income (it's over 7.5 million dollars by my count).

If any of you are following this dead horse, I encourage you to read the document about the case that is easily found online:

http://www.marlerblog.com/uploads/file/CHRISTOPHER%20MARTIN.pdf

Mark, stand strong. I might not agree with everything you do or say, but I do not believe for a second that your milk sickened the kids currently who are ill (bless their hearts!). How can it possibly be that 7500 people drink your milk daily, yet less than .0006% became ill from an infection? The math does not lie and does further call into question the issues that David raised in his earlier comment.

Pretend for just one second that the raw milk WAS the culprit (again, I don't believe it was), then why did such an infinitesimal percentage of those who drank it become ill? Why aren't we asking better questions like what is it about the host that encourages an infection (not to be confused with blaming the victim!). What type of diet did the ill children consume prior to infection? Had they taken antibiotics, been ill, been immunized, etc, etc, etc. Won't it be useful to ALL of us to know if we have certain dispositions to disease/illness that we could use to find a diet that works best for each of us?

It is a crime to pull that milk from the shelves without conclusive evidence of causation. Hang in there, Mark. The truth will set you free!

Mark McAfee
November 17, 2011

Alice,

Redo your math….it is 75,000 per week ( not 7500 ) from 425 stores in CA. And…nearly every cap date ( 18 cap dates ) for 8 weeks were tested and all that were tested were negative for ecoli from August to mid October….yet about every third cap date made one out of 75,000 sick. ??????? CDFA will not tell us what which cap dates were considered in their recall. They do not know.

How about this math….it was about one in 225,000 people that drank raw milk…becuase it was every third cap date that supposedly sickened some one. Yet…everyone of the cap dates was negative for pathogens, and all raw milk tested by state authorities that the kids actually drank was negative. If we had ecoli in our raw milk, that would mean that it came and went and its snuck arround all tests and somehow it persisted and only struck every third cap date. And it only struck one kid in every 225,000….and all others escaped. Please explain this. Anyone want to venture a theory here. I am all ears.

A PhD dairy researcher from Australia called me today and said that this is not possible when the batches are tested. The odds reach off the charts.

FYI….We slaughtered about 20 cows during that time into our USDA organic ground beef program. All were subject to USDA inspection.

I was first notified of this recall at 1140 hours on Tuesday November 14th. I knew nothing about this until a multi-agency task force of nine people half of which were well armed with badges paid me a visit…all very courteous and very professional.

Bill Marler
November 17, 2011

I have been keeping track – closely – of milk and cheese – pasteurized or not – outbreaks since 1-2010 – just to stay current. See this post with a handy dandy downloadable chart – with references:

http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/dairy-unhinged—outbreaks-in-the-last-two-years/

Any corrections, subtractions or additions would be greatly appreciated.

Around and around we go.

Sylvia Gibson
November 17, 2011

So when will the govt complete the tests and have the conclusive results? I am sure the govt will be factual-correct? Or will they only be speculating again?

BTW: motrin has a notorious side effect of GI bleed. Not something I'd give to someone with any type of GI issues.

Mark McAfee
November 17, 2011

Around about Christmas time,well after OPDC is back on shelves and all the agency nerves and consumer nerves are half settled, I will share the details of this event. Until then I want to keep the peace with everyone involved as we cooperate and get our work done. Trust me…..there are are some great and juicy pro OPDC details that can not be shared openly at this time.

In answer to the question of timing of our return to shelves, after high dairy scores all year long and zero pathogens and compliant bacteria counts….CDFA handed us a Notice of Violation today with 14 things we need to correct prior to reinstatement…last week we were operating just fine. I guess even our dear friends feel the need to CYA after the fact. Regardless, OPDC is taking this time to fully address every detail of this list and more. Our creamery will be a new place with double the bottling space, with new floors, a new Federal Capper Filler etc. The gods are weird….we ordered our new filler six months ago, it arrive 12 hours after I got the gracious visit. The filler and the improvements take a week to install.

Someone is praying for us and cursing us at the same time. I will take the prayers and forgive the curses. We will emerge better than ever….if history says anything, sales will explode and race skyward once again. It is organic lemonade time.

I have revisted our RAMP plan and have seen nothing out of compliance….something is not right. I smell a dead rat or a stinky fish some place. We have requested copies of all the DNA finger prints for private analysis. We collected duplicate fecal and environmental samples ( 300 of them….that is a whole lot of crap ) all will submitted to a lab in the morning.

The state says their results should be back in seven days. Our CDFA inspector will love our new creamery he helped us plan it out. It will be awesome!

If OPDC can not get back on the shelves soon enough for everyone….we will be selling cows and portable milking machines to people for 2 hours….just enough time for her owner to milk her in the pasture. Then we will buy her back for a slightly higher amount. We could call it our " STOC" (Short Term Own a Cow ) Program. Great tax write off…You would be a Farmer for two hours. Maybe you could even apply for subsidies.

Cow Shares looking better and better. 14 violations when we were just fine last week…? Gets you thinking. OP STOC program….kind of has a nice ring to it.

All joking aside….we will be back shortly. We apologize for this disruption. Please buy Claravale during this time.

Gwen elderberry
November 17, 2011

I've been away from this blog for quite some time. The report of the outbreak drew me back, and I am not surprised to find the same unscientific nastiness from the same people. The viciousness of attacks prior to studies being completed or public reports is really unwarranted. Should it be found that Organic Pastures is innocent, you must know, Bill Marler, that you and your clients would most certainly be guilty of slander. I understand their being upset with Mark McAfee, but all is really not justified in love and war.

The final word is far from said on E-coli 0157:H7, where it comes from, how it spreads or how immunity is built against it. Nobody knows. Period. Being upset about raw milk being sold and children becoming sick won't change those facts. While you are attacking, the real culprit is still there. Taking Mark away won't take away the problem of E-coli spread, I hope you realize. Getting revenge will NOT fix the problem. Did they test the regional birds? Are there flocks of European Starlings in the area? Did they really exhaust all possibilities? I doubt it. You can criminalize who you want, but be careful about that, or it may come back to bite you, and your viciousness may be returned.

I found a most interesting peer reviewed study in "Pediatric Nephrology," Volume 4, Number 5, p 576, entitled, "Increased incidence of haemolytic uraemic syndrome in children who have a father who is either a physician or a lawyer," by Robsin, W.L. and Fick, G.H..

http://www.springerlink.com/content/v2v24075364x75xn/

It is important for all of us to understand the whys of this, and to not jump to so many conclusions, not because Bill Marler's children are slightly more prone to contract infectious E-coli from their food than mine are, but because there are some underlying reasons these things are true, and we need to know what those reasons are. I doubt Mark rushed his infected cows off to the sale. You have seriously got to be kidding me.

What if the culprit were not raw milk? What would it be? Is anybody asking? And if it is raw milk from OP, what exactly happened in this incident? Nobody is going to find out if some people here have their way, and that makes me wonder what their motives really are? Revenge, or saving children?

Marietta Pellicano
November 17, 2011

Alice…I stand with you…the truth will set Mark free.
Gwen…your link to HUS prone children of professionals made my evening! I have read articles as far back as the early '70's regarding immunity of children of this societal status! The "bacteria phobes" of this class in society just can't allow for their children to 'eat a little dirt.' And it's a fact that they don't pay enough attention to their children's nutrition. 'Convenience' is the kitchen god of worship these days, so I don't think it's just the children of professionals who are nutritionally neglected, but most children of working/overly busy parents.

And the fact that some recognized slimy minions of intentional chaos and mayhem have reared their ugly heads recently here on this blog and elsewhere is not to be a surprise. After all, kicking a man when he's down is much easier than facing him upright. Fear not, however, because he walks not alone through this valley of stench. We kept vigil with Michael Schmidt while he fasted, we will keep the same vigil with Mark through this time of trial. Both of these gentlemen are, in fact, men of honor and integrity.

Alice Riccabona
November 17, 2011

Mark,

You are right – my math is off based upon wrong estimates. If 75000 drink your milk over a 12 week period, that's 900,000 possible exposures of which only 5 people are sick — that is .000005%. The point is that with such a high population drinking your milk that if, in fact, the milk contained pathogens, I would expect a much higher number of illnesses.

I am very interested to hear more about the facts of the case when you are able to release them. Good luck with your renovations!

Sylvia Gibson
November 17, 2011

"CDFA handed us a Notice of Violation today with 14 things we need to correct prior to reinstatement…last week we were operating just fine. "

Sounds like what the govt has done to other dairies…Why are these changes needed now when last week all was fine?

I guess none of those children ate hamburger meat.

School was in session, doesn't food come from a common entity. Ca schools in the past fed the kids tainted foods.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-beef18feb18,0,4428760.story?page=2

http://agriculturesociety.com/politics-and-food/1-in-4-meat-packages-tainted-with-pathogenic-bacteria/

Gwen elderberry
November 17, 2011

Ron, do you have the title of that article about the lectin-like molecule, or a page number?

Most labs in hospitals do not routinely test for E-coli 0157:H7. A doctor has to order the test. A culture may take 3 days, but there are faster tests being developed (embase enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay, for example), though they are expensive, and the U.S. standard is probably still the culture. Is there a different policy in California? Are the local hospitals targeting O.P. by asking families if their children drink raw milk when they present with diarrhea, and then doctors testing their stools? I'm asking because I routinely do admission assessments, and I am expected to ask specific questions. I don't routinely ask about E-coli related questions. I have personally in 14 years of being a nurse, seen several episodes of numerous admissions with diarrhea, one during the peanut butter incident. I pointedly asked several doctors then if some of those cases might be infectious e-coli, and was told it was not being tested for. The news media may be influencing nurses and other health care workers and doctors to be taking very specific histories on children who present with diarrhea, and it is quite possible that children who are admitted with diarrhea who do not drink raw milk are not even being tested. Just throwing this out there. I've seen this sort of bias first hand.

Evidence shows that most E-coli 0157:H7, and even HUS goes undetected, and is grossly underreported by health care facilities, even when found, in studies that examined charts; and that in many (most) cases symptomology that could be e-coli is not even pursued.

It most certainly is spread by numerous oral-fecal routes, including in water, and has been widely disseminated. There have been outbreaks linked to petting zoos and nursing homes. I've printed out the studies on these if anyone is interested in specific links.

Karen Selick
November 17, 2011

I wonder whether the health authorities in this case are aware of the scientific study showing that the shiga toxins produced by e.coli O157:H7 can survive normal pasteurization methods. Here's the link: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/39397/1/IND44305252.pdf Even though the heat treatment kills the bacteria, it does not inactivate the toxin. So the authorities may be overlooking some COOKED food that those children ate in common, on the assumption that if it was cooked it couldn't be the culprit.

Karen Selick
November 17, 2011

Is anybody reading this blog well informed about the use of activated charcoal in the home?

How much harm could be prevented if people kept food-grade activated charcoal in their medicine cabinets and administered it to themselves or their kids as soon as diarrhea struck?

With millions of North Americans suffering from at least one episode of foodborne illness every year, there is nowhere near enough focus on what people can do for themselves to ameliorate a bad situation.

Activated charcoal adsorbs the toxins in the digestive tract. This can prevent them from doing further damage until they are eliminated from the body. There is a scientific study indicating that it works on e.col O157:H7. Heres the link: http://sciencelinks.jp/j-east/article/200112/000020011201A0470896.php

Why doesnt every home medicine cabinet contain a bottle of this stuff? Mine does.

D Smith
November 18, 2011

It never fails to amaze, and disgust, me when people will drive right up to a Taco Bell and order food they know nothing about (in terms of where it came from and/or what's really in it) but they will blast fresh milk to kingdom come before all the facts are in. So if people ate Taco Bell (just used as a for-instance here) and consumed raw milk on the same day, they automatically blame the milk.

Sounds exactly like something the FDA and all the other alphabet soup agencies will jump to, immediately if not sooner. Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

Someone is missing the big picture here. The FDA has already tacked OPDC and turning that around is going to be gruesome. I'm sorry to hear about this because fresh milk was just starting to make inroads.

The timing here does seem a bit suspect, no?

Sylvia Gibson
November 18, 2011

Karen,

I have only given activated charcoal through an NG tube (tube up nose into stomach-gastric lavage) for drug overdoses in an emergency room. Sometimes the results bring new meaning to projectile vomiting. It can also cause constipation and/or an intestinal blockage, something you don't want to happen.

Do people really read the package inserts that come with drugs? If it isn't on TV or their MD hasn't told them about various drugs, then people have little knowledge of them and their use.

http://www.drugs.com/sfx/activated-charcoal-side-effects.html

http://www.drugs.com/sfx/ipecac-side-effects.html

D Smith
November 18, 2011

Sylvia, charcoal can also be used externally to draw things out of the body. It works very well that way, quickly too, and is much less likely to produce a "side-effect". I've used it for everything from drawing out teeny tiny slivers to drawing the head out of a boil. My DH is a retired EMT/firefighter and he knows hundreds of external uses for charcoal. Up the nose doesn't sound appealing at all!

Sylvia Gibson
November 18, 2011

D.Smith, I'll add that to my list of things to remember. I learn something every day. Sticking tubes up noses isn't a fun nursing task! Haven't worked in an ED for over 15 yrs. and seemed to insert less and less NG tubes over the last 5 or so years on the med-surg floors…I'll take my geriatrics any day!

Nourish Yourself
November 18, 2011

Alice I agree with you!
D. Smith good point about Taco Bell etc.
Sad that thousands of people are killed by pharmaceutical drugs every year and vaccines, damaged by them, people made sick and killed by pasteurized junk milk and CAFO meats and all the other CRAP allowed by the establishment in our foods (I should say PHOOD as most of the chemicals allowed in them are processed, packaged phoods) and not much press about it all!!

I am not a huge believer in "science" – people lie and can make things look the way they want them to look. Much corruption everywhere anymore especially by those in government and funded by the giant corporations that want to make things look the way they want.

D Smith
November 20, 2011

@ Nourish Yourself said: "I am not a huge believer in "science" – people lie and can make things look the way they want them to look. Much corruption everywhere anymore especially by those in government and funded by the giant corporations that want to make things look the way they want."

I agree. I'm not a huge fan of science either, and they do tend to find whatever target they're focused on, in this case raw milk. Usually the focus has to do with dollar signs, most especially when the FDA is involved. A rattlesnake could take lessons from the FDA and our government. My guess would be that if someone knowledgeable tried to decipher the reports once they're issued, they'd get a huge headache from trying to follow the unusual math concepts involved! Creative book-cooking.

Gordon Watson
November 20, 2011

all that's happened so far in the allegations against Organic Pastures, is the same old fable, writ large, published by people who are obviously in the thrall of industrialized ag. Mark McAffee took on the gods, and the gods took him on. Forget the notion of "fair play"

until and unless some real evidence is produced, then whatever is being bruited-about is nothing but anonymous triple hearsay : as one wise old judge put it "the nature of evidence is that it can be tested. If it can't be tested, it isn't evidence."

my ten years' experience in this thing has taught me that such controversy results in more demand. The Campaign for REAL MILK is a movement whose time has come. It won't be stopped by uniformed goons with guns, nor by over-educated idiots known as lawyers.

First and last, this is a spiritual battle