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U.S. officials warn of raw milk dangers

March 29, 2010 at 10:39 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and several state health agencies are warning of an outbreak of campylobacteriosis associated with drinking raw milk.

The FDA said at least 12 confirmed illnesses have been recently reported in Michigan. Symptoms of campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever.

The FDA said it is collaborating with health officials in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana in investigating the outbreak linked to raw milk produced by the Forest Grove Dairy in Middlebury, Ind.

Raw milk is unpasteurized milk from hoofed mammals, such as cows, sheep or goats. The FDA said raw milk may contain a wide variety of harmful pathogens -- including Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, Campylobacter and Brucella bacteria -- that may cause illness and possibly death.

Symptoms of illness caused by various bacteria commonly found in raw milk might include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache and body ache. People drinking raw milk who experience one or more of those symptoms should immediately contact their healthcare provider, the FDA said.

Since 1987, the FDA has required all milk packaged for human consumption to be pasteurized before being delivered into interstate commerce. Pasteurization, a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time, kills bacteria responsible for diseases that also include typhoid fever, tuberculosis and diphtheria.

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