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Raw milk in E. coli recall in Calif.

  |   Nov. 21, 2011 at 2:59 PM
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FRESNO, Calif., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- California officials say they've recalled products from a Fresno organic dairy after five children were sickened by bacteria thought to have come from raw milk.

Products from Organic Pastures of Fresno were recalled after the children were sickened by E.coli bacteria believed to have come from milk from the dairy, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Raw milk can be legally sold in California retail stores, but bottles must carry a warning that children, the elderly and anyone with a weakened immune system shouldn't drink it, officials said.

California is one of only 10 states that allow retail sales of raw milk.

Drinking unpasteurized milk isn't the same as eating raw vegetables or other agricultural products that could carry dangerous bacteria, health officials said.

"One of the big issues is how food is consumed," James Watt, chief of the state Health Services Department's division of communicable disease control, said. "Those other foods are typically cooked, or at least can be washed. Raw milk is consumed straight out of the bottle. There's not much you can do if there's contamination in there."

Three of the five children sickened in the recent raw milk recall had to be hospitalized because their kidneys were starting to fail, the Chronicle reported.

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Topics: James Watt
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