Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

Fresno Bee – Raw milk dairy could resume production soon

Organic Pastures dairy near Kerman – under state quarantine for three weeks – could resume producing its raw milk products soon, if it passes a final round of testing by the state.

The dairy’s products were recalled by the California Department of Food and Agriculture on Nov. 15 after five children in the state became ill with E.coli.

State health investigators found that the children, who live in Kings, Contra Costa, Sacramento and San Diego counties, all drank raw milk from Organic Pastures Dairy.

The dairy has been unable to sell any of its raw milk products, except for its aged raw milk cheese, during the investigation.

Recently, the state allowed the dairy to resume production for the purpose of testing small batches of products. Complete results of those tests are expected by Monday, said Steve Lyle, spokesman for the state agriculture department.

Lyle said the quarantine will remain until all the lab tests are complete and results come back negative for any pathogens.

Dairy owner Mark McAfee said he is eager to resume making his raw milk, butter and cream. And he said he is confident about the testing.

“They have not been able to find any pathogens, and they won’t,” McAfee said.

McAfee, the state’s largest raw milk producer, said the recall has cost the dairy about $50,000 in lost sales.

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