More E. coli victims identified in California raw milk outbreak

California officials say the case count in the E. coli outbreak linked to unpasteurized raw milk from an organic dairy in Fresno is increasing, but they aren’t saying much else.

As of Monday, 10 people have been confirmed with “closely related strains of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157:H7,” according to a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). All of the illnesses occurred in January. Additional outbreak victims could still be identified.

Six of the sick people reported drinking unpasteurized raw milk from Organic Pastures Dairy Co., according to the CDPH. It is not known if the other four patients drank raw milk from Organic Pastures.

The state health department is continuing to investigate the outbreak, but will not provide specific details.

“The environmental investigation is ongoing. CDPH has collected a large number of samples including feces, water and raw milk, which are still undergoing evaluation at the department’s Food and Drug Laboratory Branch,” the CDPH spokesman said via email.

When they are available, the department will not release them until the investigation is finished, the CDPH spokesman said Tuesday.

The department has not published any statements about the outbreak or investigation.

“CDPH does not routinely post in-process updates on its active investigations,” the department’s spokesman said via email. “If the public needs to be alerted about an adulterated food, CDPH will issue a Health Advisory warning consumers of the food that should be avoided.

“In this case, the outbreak was identified and the voluntary recall issued by the firm after the shelf-life of the product had expired. Since no product was believed to remain in the marketplace, no health alert was issued.”


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