The head of the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services says six of the 13 confirmed cases of E. coli (0157:H7) illness in central Missouri are directly linked to the consumption of raw milk. Department Director Margaret Donnelly, “Seven of the individuals have no connection to the farm but six individuals consumed raw milk from one farm.”
That farm is in Howard County, Missouri. The 13 illnesses are confirmed in Boone, Cooper and Howard counties. Direct sales of raw milk from farmers to customers are legal in Missouri.
Donnelly says the health department’s position is that people should NOT consume raw milk.
“We are taking this opportunity to remind the public that it’s widely considered an unnecessary health risk to consume raw milk or milk that’s not been pasteurized to kill all of the harmful germs – that can be bacteria or viruses or parasites,” Donnelly says.
The Health Department advises consuming only store-bought pasteurized milk.
“The role of pasteurization is to eliminate disease-causing germs that may have contaminated the milk and provide protection for the consumer,” says Donnelly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says if a farmer tests raw milk on the farm – and it comes up negative –that does NOT mean that it is safe.
While there are other E. coli illnesses reported in other Missouri counties, Donnelly says E. coli is fairly common and they do not believe those are related to the confirmed raw milk cases.
~Missourinet contributed to this report~