McAfee Says OPDC Testing Averted Potentially Huge E.coli Disaster

OPDClogoMark McAfee credits Organic Pastures’ “test-and-hold” protocol with having averted a potentially huge  E.coli O157:H7 disaster last month.

As it is, at least four children appear to have been sickened directly by OPDC milk, and possibly two others became ill on a secondary basis (such as from a raw milk drinker spreading the E.coli pathogen).

“There is no question our milk made four kids sick….in a very defined set of time,” he says. Two of the four were hospitalized, and were released in a few days, without having developed the potentially very dangerous hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) complication, he says.

Those children consumed tainted milk that wasn’t immediately discovered via the OPDC testing program in place for E.coli O157:H7—a “false negative,” says McAfee—and was released in early January on two delivery routes. However, when milk from the dairy tested positive for E.coliO157:H7 the next day, it was held back for delivery to stores and farmers markets on 38 other routes, as the dairy voluntarily shut down for two days to track down the problem. McAfee says OPDC services 700 stores and 21 farmers markets.

“Two routes versus forty routes is a massive reduction” in risk, he says.

OPDC informed the California Department of Food and Agriculture about the problem, and the action it was taking. He also did a voluntary recall of milk that had gone out previously. The fact that OPDC acted on its own persuaded the state to refrain from forcing a shutdown.

McAfee says the dairy eventually discovered one cow that he says was shedding E.coli O157:H7 “from inside her udder” into the milk. The cow was born and raised at OPDC, so the problem can’t be explained as coming from another dairy.

The notion of E.coliO157:H7 being shed directly into milk is a new, and potentially alarming, one in the world of food safety. Indeed, it hasn’t been proven scientifically, and one food safety expert I contacted said that “proving” udder shedding would require a necropsy and culture of the udder; this expert says it has to be assumed at this point that  the positives are from the teats and environmental contamination from feces or bedding, and that E. coli movement into the teat (not down from the udder) has not been ruled out.

McAfee thinks recent heavy rains, in December and January, could have contributed to the pathogen problem. Also, the cow in question had just recently given birth. In any event, OPDC is increasing its pathogen testing frequency as a result, he says.

Since the state doesn’t divulge names of people who are sickened by tainted food, McAfee is asking anyone who may have been sickened to get in touch with him, [email protected]. He has already compensated one family for its medical expenses.

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72 comments to McAfee Says OPDC Testing Averted Potentially Huge E.coli Disaster

  • mark mcafee mark mcafee

    David,

    Thank you as always for your coverage of our story. The entire event was chronicled for the benefit of the LISTED RAWMI community last week. I want all raw milk producers to know about our experience and be able to include this experience in their tool box. I even invite raw milk consumers to know what producers go through to provide this whole food to them. It just does not magically appear in their refrigerator.

    In spite of the obvious liability, we must stand up and take this on personally. We did nothing wrong, in fact, we did everything right. This event uncovered a potential “new inside the-udder-threat” and we are now managing that emerging threat. It also pointed to the limitations of BAX PCR pathogen testing, even though it works great!

    Perhaps our greatest new change is the method of sampling. In stead of sampling from one place in the tank, we sample from many and mix them together for a composite sample that is then tested. This is then repeated twice. This “reduces the chance of a false negatives” tremendously. The sampling protocol is being further refined with help of lab researchers that know this stuff. While risks can not be reduced to zero….we are getting closer and closer.

    How do we deal with liability?

    We deal with it straight up. There is no such thing as hiding. PFGE signatures of all pathogens found in fecal samples submitted by doctors to labs in CA, end up in the state managed database. If they match and the patient drank your raw milk. You are it. No hiding or wishing it was not you. If someone calls and says that they were sickened…we will meet with them and make them whole. In fact, I have already addressed one of the patients and they are happy. I am searching for one more. No one else was hospitalized for illness. According to the state, there were no HUS long term illnesses. All of these patients appear to be stay at home diarrhea cases for the most part. I do not want to suggest any minimizing of illness. Raw milk producers rejoice in knowing that our food improves immunity and health. The idea of making anyone sick is horrible!! I go to sleep every night thinking and praying….greater good….greater good.

    I am also very proud of the doctors. They finally figured out that anti-biotics do not work for Ecoli 0157H7. In fact, they appear to be a ( a suspected cause ) trigger for HUS. The patient I know of recovered with no anti biotics but just with solid supportive care. It was over in a few days. Thankfully!!

    What is truly sad is the total disregard for the value of raw milk and the credit it should and must get for the reduction of colds, ear infections, asthma and other illness. All that raw milk seems to get in the media is marginalization as crazy high risk food. This is sadly wrong minded and short sighted. We must have strong healthy kids and that comes from whole food and that means unprocessed biologically diverse foods.

    What about the 3,900 people that die each year from asthma? Yet raw milk reduces asthma.
    What about the C-Diff that kills 25,000 per year? The bacteria found in raw milk prevents C-Diff.
    What about chronic colds and all the respiratory illness and ER visits ( tens of thousands of them )? While raw milk prevents cold and allergies.
    What about pasteurized milk and how it triggers asthma and allergies?

    Kids that drink raw milk are not victim’s of these statistics.
    As we persevere and perfect the production of safe raw milk, we must also endure the slings & arrows from those that only criticize for the slight risk and give no credit for the scientifically proven ( EU 17 Studies ) wonders of raw milk. There should be a “medical-carbon-credit for raw-milk”.

    Mob grazing starts this week and the pastures are greener than ever.

    • @ Mark,

      In 2008 there was a listeria outbreak in Massachusetts that resulted in three deaths. News articles said, “Tests at the Whittier Farms plant found nothing wrong with its pasteurization process, deepening the mystery.” http://www.semissourian.com/story/1302616.html

      I wrote to Whittier Farms suggesting they test milk from individual cows to determine whether one of them was a bovine Typhoid Mary. http://history1900s.about.com/od/1900s/a/typhoidmary.htm Whittier Farms did not respond so I assume they ignored my suggestion. The 300 cow operation was eventually shut down permanently as the source of contamination was never found.

    • Molly Malone

      Mark,
      Thanks for your comments here. My family and I have been drinking raw milk for several years now, and I am somewhat informed on these issues, but I am always seeking to learn more. In a nutshell, I am a mom who just wants to provide healthy, whole foods for her family, and have as many of my grocery dollars going to local farms as possible. I realize there are risks with raw dairy, and that steps must be taken to reduce those risks. I also realize the incredible nutritional benefits of raw milk, a major reason we drink it. I appreciate that you are here discussing both, because most of the information out there either presents raw milk as this wondrous food that can never make you sick or this high-risk food that only crazy people would drink. For me, as a mom, making the food purchases for my family, I appreciate information like this that helps producers and consumers alike understand the risks involved and the complexities in testing for and reducing those risks. I think raw milk IS a wondrous food, but, like ANY food, it can make you sick. I think being realistic about this will actually broaden the appeal of raw milk, which is something I would dearly love to see. I have friends who drink raw milk, and many more who don’t. Among those who don’t, it is the polarization around risk that deters them. Realistic conversations about the risks and how to reduce them are, in my opinion, necessary to the advancement of the appeal of raw milk to the average consumer. If we can demonstrate to the general public (as well as to the regulatory authorities) that, as a community, we recognize the risks and work to reduce them as much as possible, demand will increase, which will help lead to more raw-milk friendly legislation. I think you made a comment a couple posts back about “safety first, then freedom”. That resonated with me. Thank you.

    • Theothersideofthestory

      I guess the process is somewhat simplistic. Please correct if I am getting this wrong Mark.

      From what I am reading, the way authorities associate causation when illness is reported is primarily through presentstion and a sample. Such as a stool sample. At the same time Labs are required to notify the state of any positive results, in addition producers are also required to do so. Where the pathogen is declared positive and the ill consumer has had some association with it, it is concluded to be the source.

      But , considering that only 4 people are associated in this way, and that many people consume this same product and were not sick. It does leave some doubt.

      If there was any remaining milk left it might be helpful to take tests of it for confirmation.

      I suspect it might in fact be helpful if all raw milk consumers were to understand what procedures would best help to determine cause. By ensuring that any such suspected food be retained for testing.

  • Theothersideofthestory

    Now I am confused. I would have thought that batch testing would actually eliminate all possibility of tainted milk being released to the public. Please tell us more.

    Admittedly I was a bit taken back how candidly the discover of 0157 was presented, in particular the certainty by which it was presented to have come from within the udder of one cow. It seemed premature.

    How does this reflect on the utility of monthly testing , when a positive 0157 could mean that for the last thirty days any number of consumers, that did not pastuerize their milk, could have gotten seriously ill?

    • Gordon S Watson

      if “…. any number of consumers, that did not pasteurize their milk, could have gotten seriously ill?” [ sic]
      … to which I say : If anyone else had been made ill, wouldn’t we know about it? We sure would >>>> guys like you’d be blazing the Other Side of the Story to the skies, wouldn’t you?!. But your insinuation is the classic canard of an argument from silence >>>>>>>> one more strand of circumstantial evidence that you’re a troll

      • Theothersideofthestory

        Gorden , if there is any trolling here it’s you. I am not on a side, and you can just own that for yourself.

        There is a general way in which phenomina is studied , and more then often it’s not publicized before things are better known. Because it reflects upon the industry, unless of course that is the entire point. And it’s not clear here

        But thank you for your attempt to discredit my input

        • Gordon S Watson

          someone commenting on this website, suggesting that afficionados of raw milk ought to cook it, before drinking it … as was posted on Feb 11th = hidden behind the mask “OtherSide of the Story” = is … putting it kindly … “unclear on the concept”. But I don’t believe that. There is most certainly is a time and place for intelligent scrutiny, but your pessimism gives you away. Having participated on various raw milk fora, for (nigh-on 10 years) the pattern of your posts tells me you’re here to pollute the discourse, not for offering genuine constructive criticism.

          • Theothersideofthestory

            What discourse is that? The anti establishment flag waving, my way is the right way kind? Are you not the same Gorden that was selling raw milk as cosmetics?

            I don’t care if people boil their milk or not, that is their choice and freedom.

            But instead of simply attacking me, how about the point itself?

  • Mark mcafee Mark mcafee

    Think of testing as a verification step and part of a complex RAMP model. Not a simple answer or cure all promise. Here are just a few variables for testing:

    The density or the log number of the pathogens in the tank
    The volume of the tank size
    The homogeneity of the distribution of the pathogens
    The number of tests or samples used to find that pathogen….the more used the better…but more $
    The accuracy and sensitivity of the test system
    Many other factors….

    Pathogen testing a bulk of milk is not a perfect test. It is however a very good risk reduction step.
    To quote Dr. Cat Berge: a negative test does not necessarily mean the sample is negative and a positive test does not necessarily mean the sample is positive. There are false results on both sides. BAX PCR is very accurate both for sensitivity and specificity. All very technical.

    Bottom line….a RAMP safety system uses a combination of “conditions management” and testing to lower risk.

    It is quite possible with one test per month that results could be out if whack for all the last 29 days, since the last test. That is why RAMP plans are checked every day to assure quality inputs for each day of the month. Testing is a verification step to assure that systems are working as designed. Small operations do fine with this level of verification. As herds get larger ….more testing is indicated to assure that systems are under control on a more frequent basis. If an observer looks at all the Listed RAWMI test data….it is very impressive how low the numbers are and how low risk the milk is. Remember….pasteurized milk and processed dairy products have sickened hundreds of thousands and killed 80 or more since 1972. Pasteurization is supposed to be perfect.

    • Theothersideofthestory

      For $39,000 is it not worth it to just buy the BAX PCR system for in house testing ? It seems to me that covering the costs of just one related illness might be that much in the USA.

      And with a $6,000,000 operation the cost per litre for some dalitsl investment is quite minimal.

    • John

      Mark, I suspect the size of the sample tested vs the size of the tank might also be important. I’m trying to decide if taking multiple samples and pooling these for a sample will really help. My guess is if you collect multiple samples, then these might be of more help if you test each one separately. Also, does the PCR have a control for a failure to amplify (i.e. the test appears negative,and the PCR amplified a control template to prove the reaction worked as expected)? Thanks.
      John

      • Theothersideofthestory

        Interestingly , there is sexually transmitted disease where the technology has advanced. The technology is actually too sensitive and in many cases is giving people false positives. Leading to huge relationship upheavals and divorce. Only to discover that it was not spousal cheating, but actually a hypersensitive testing procedure, and now before proceeding to inform patients many labs are follow up testing with culture growth confirmation

  • ingvar ingvar

    Here is my bottom line:
    Does the administration of antibiotics = gross medical malpractice?

    Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard

    • Lynn_M Lynn_M

      Ingvar, your question about antibiotics makes me wonder about what is the proper treatment for shiga toxin producing diseases. I’ve been consuming raw kefir for 15 years and homemade raw sauerkraut for 8 years, so I hope my gut microbiome is healthy. But my milk has come from 1 or 2 cow families that do not do any testing, so it seems possible I could contract a pathogenic disease from my kefir.

      So can anyone offer advice on what to do if one suspects exposure to E.coli O157:H7 or campylobacteria or some other pathogen? I live in Nebraska where doctors practice very conventional medicine, and I’m sure the first thing they would want to do is give antibiotics.

      After reading Mary McGonigle’s explanation years ago of why she agreed to let Chris be given antibiotics when he had become so ill, it does seem that when one is in dire circumstances, sometimes antibiotics may be the best answer. However, IIRC, the treatment he received early on may not have been the most suitable.

    • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

      Despite their benefits antibiotics are inherently disruptive. Their overall negative and harmful effect on the digestive system, the immune system, and the kidneys etc is both gradual, and subtle. Any doctor that tries to convince you that antibiotics are easily metabolized by your body without ill effect is lying to you.

      • theothersideofthestory

        Yes, I noticed that in countries such a Switzerland they often prescribe anti-biotics as injections instead of pills to avoid messing up the digestive tract. Its more costly but seems a better method

  • Mark mcafee Mark mcafee

    David,

    One clarification. There were a total of six matching PFGE signatures in the state of CA data base in mid- January. Only four said they had consumed raw milk from OPDC. The other 2 completely denied drinking OPDC or any raw milk. All of these PFGE signatures came from different families and locations. It is not suspected that any ecoli cases came from interpersonal contact. 2 of the six were reported to have spent any time in a hospital. All are reported to be free from HUS injury according to information made available to us.

    At one point, my grandson was briefly listed on the state list because his stools tested positive for shigatoxin. However, he was never sick at all and his stool was negative for ecoli pathogens. He had some diarrhea and his mom had it checked. The state quickly removed him from the list. Even the state can be a little over broad when they throw out their net. Shigella is a very common childhood cause of diarrhea….and it creates a shigatoxin. It was kind of funny…I sent ( texted ) the state epidemiology investigator a picture of little Thomas playing hard and eating even harder and suggested that perhaps he reconsider Thomas as being on the list of sick kids. He quickly removed him.

    The state has a very good system to track illnesses…..but it isn’t perfect either.

    • Lynn_M Lynn_M

      Mark,
      Do you have any information about how long any of the 4 OPDC-milk drinkers with a matching PFGE signature had been drinking raw milk, whether from OPDC or another source? Did any of the 6 with a matching PFGE signature have other health conditions or take medication of any kind?

  • Mark mcafee Mark mcafee

    Whittier Farms was most probably a post pasteurization incident. That’s why they could not find anything wring with their process. It was also chocolate milk. Improper heating of all the milk when mixed with other ingredients always is an issue to think about.

    Listeria comes from environmental contamination inside of the creamery after processing. Listeria is not an issue found inside of cows or in milk barns ( generally ). Listeria loves a vacume where good Bactera are missing…..where it is cold and there is plenty of food. Pasteurization plants use all sorts of cleaning chemicals that make them prone to listeria especially quats.

    Its the headline that bugs me at Whittier. “Nothing wrong” ….leads the news! If that was raw milk…you know. exactly how it would read.

    • Marietta Pellicano

      Thank You, Mark, a thousand times over! You truly are THE Premier Dairy Farmer not just in our State of CA, but the entire country! No government entity would go to the trouble DOING what you do so that farmers could provide this “white gold” nutrient dense product that so many of us obviously want to have in our daily diets. We are so grateful to you for ALL your labors, and I am so happy to hear that those children came through this OK. Also, thank you for your open and honest report regarding this issue and surrounding events. Knowledge is empowering, and shared knowledge gives us all strength in unity. Of course, a big thank you to David also, for being the “reporter.” Yes, David, I’ve read your blog daily from it’s inception, even though I don’t weigh-in often. There has been quite an evolution of education regarding the issues around raw milk over the years and this latest event really makes that fact quite evident.

  • Mary McGonigle-Martin

    The latest information on the OPDC outbreak–2 with HUS. See Bill Marler’s blog.

  • I don’t get the “udder” part of the story. Does OPDC have the tech to come to that conclusion? The timeline of the positive testing onsite isn’t really clear either — Did the positive come after both deliveries? Between? It sounds like regardless that there were two “false negatives” but last I checked there was no approved rapid testing for O157:H7 for milk anyway.

    • theothersideofthestory

      found this in a quick search. did also find some faster screening, but they all said they are not alternative to…Abstract

      A sensitive, specific procedure was developed for detecting Escherichia coli O157:H7 in food in less than 20 h. The procedure involves enrichment of 25 g of food in 225 ml of a selective enrichment medium for 16 to 18 h at 37 degrees C with agitation (150 rpm). The enrichment culture is applied to a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with a polyclonal antibody specific for E. coli O157 antigen as the capture antibody and a monoclonal antibody specific for enterohemorrhagic E. coli of serotypes O157:H7 and O26:H11 as the detection antibody. The ELISA can be completed within 3 h. The sensitivity of the procedure, determined by using E. coli O157:H7-inoculated ground beef and dairy products, including different varieties of cheese, was 0.2 to 0.9 cell per g of food. A survey of retail fresh ground beef and farm raw milk samples with this procedure revealed that 3 (2.8%) of 107 ground beef samples and 11 (10%) of 115 raw milk samples were positive for E. coli O157:H7. Most-probable-number determinations revealed E. coli O157:H7 populations of 0.4 to 1.5 cells per g in the three ground beef samples. In addition to being highly specific, sensitive, and rapid, this procedure is easy to perform and is amenable to use by laboratories performing routine microbiological testing.

  • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

    Mark,
    Neither you nor raw milk is making anyone sick.

    Question; how big is this RAWMI toolbox going to have to get in order to accommodate all the tools necessary to address the lack of harmony that has been nurtured in the human body by the current conventional medical paradigm’s toxic assault on the human body via its vaccines, antibiotics and drugs?

  • mark mcafee mark mcafee

    Mary,

    Do not trust or believe anything at FSN.

    Marler is using old and very inaccurate information. He wants to add 2 more patients to his list of raw milk illnesses. One of these patients came from Oct 6th 2015 and is completely unrelated ( the state even said so ). The other is my grandson that was never sickened and never had ecoli ( I have fecal tests to prove it ). Instead he had Shiggella from day care, and was never sick! The State of CA list is a garbage pile that must be sorted to get to the correct data. I do not blame the state, but that is the nature of a “broad net” that catches everything and then you have to sort the data to get to meaningful information. Marler is simply putting “the scare into scare tactics” by using the pile of unsorted garbage data! The truth is someplace far away from FSN.

    When told of the error for my grandson, the state quickly removed him as a suspect.

    What I find terribly troubling is this, everyone raves about and wants raw milk and drinks it and loves it….but if there is a slight bump in the road…the producer gets threatened and sued. Got to love the deep insurance pockets!! The entire Food Safety system is designed to assure that all data is made available to the litigation system that then goes about killing our sources of whole food. What a racket.

    Do not blame me if the cost of OPDC raw milk goes up considerably. Blame Bill Marler for the high cost of raw milk. This environment is nothing less than hostile when we are doing our very best and going far beyond any state requirements with hundreds of tests per month and Test & Hold etc.

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      The big problem here is that you are fighting an ideology that reads: Raw milk is inherently unsafe. The ideology is driven by a number of factors, including Big Dairy, which doesn’t want competition; and the public health/medical communities, which were taught that mantra in school, and can’t/won’t let it go. Ideology is impregnable, unfortunately. Just one example to back up the ideology is all you ever need to “prove” its truth.

      Those who hold onto the ideology can’t accept even the possibility that raw milk can be produced safely. So they don’t listen to or read reports about the Raw Milk Institute, or about safety and testing programs under way at various raw dairies. They block any efforts to provide education about raw milk safety, or to conduct research into raw milk nutrition or safety. When you tell them there are a number of states with active raw milk distribution programs (like MA, NH, ME) that haven’t had a single illness from raw milk for at least 20 years, they pretend not to have heard you. Those among them who control media, like Marler’s Food Safety News, focus entirely on any illnesses, and ignore possible lessons gleaned from the illnesses that could improve safety.

      I think, in that environment, you are best off going about your business, serving your market, improving your testing and safety, and pretending the ideologues don’t exist. Because there is no way you are ever going to win them to your side. Even if there are no illnesses for the next 10 years, they will continue to remind you of the illness(es) from 11 years ago.

      • theothersideofthestory

        Is it not true that all food is inherently unsafe?

        • Pete

          Life is a terminal illness.

          • David Gumpert David Gumpert

            Just to clarify, Pete and TOSOTS, the statement about raw milk being inherently unsafe comes from the FDA–that is the exact language it uses to describe raw milk. In FDA’s judgment, raw milk is unique among foods that way, other foods aren’t inherently unsafe. The key word is “inherently.” It means, in this context, that producing safe raw milk is humanly impossible, and therefore any and all safety precautions and programs are a waste of time. End of story.

          • theothersideofthestory

            well that is just stupid. In relation to other foods it is not any more unsafe then lettuce. I simply can not understand why it even needs to be classified as “table ready” anyway. I realize that some raw milk enthusiast are quite passionate about it, but considering that such a small percentage of the population will drink milk raw, it need not be classified as table ready. And then Marlor can just go fly a kite, cause if someone has chosen not to boil their raw milk, that is their problem.

            It does not mean that anything else need change. All them institutions can still have their positions, standards can still be upheld and developed, and people can get unprocessed food to do as they please.

      • D. Smith D. Smith

        Thought some might like to see this 2 1/2 minute vid on legalizing raw milk.

        http://libertypenblog.blogspot.com/2016/02/video-legalize-raw-milk-nullify-federal.html

    • Mark — You prominently advertise that your product is tested and held until clear. I don’t know how you hold product for two days to wait for 3rd party testing, but you make strong marketing assurances on your website and in your presentations that you do so. Your testing system failed and kids got HUS. HUS can have long term medical costs and it would be entirely appropriate for the families involved to retain counsel and recover those costs. This is a cost of your doing business, especially given your product and marketing claims. Back in your last publicized lawsuit you bragged that your insurance company supported you so much that it reduced your premium, so your complaint now is strange. If your costs go up, it’s not because of Bill Marler, it’s because you haven’t figured out how to balance your marketing claims and risk.

      • IdahoLaura

        Where did you get the information that kids got HUS? Bill Marler?
        “There is no question our milk made four kids sick….in a very defined set of time,” he says. Two of the four were hospitalized, and were released in a few days, without having developed the potentially very dangerous hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) complication, he says.
        He has already compensated one family for its medical expenses.

        So, what more do you want Mark to do?

    • Theothersideofthestory

      How can you be sure that someone did not inject 0157 into that udder?

      • What is the evidence that it came from the udder? It seems like a pretty big claim and I’d like to hear the story of the test itself.

          • theothersideofthestory

            The first I heard it mentioned was a couple of weeks ago on this blog actually. But he talks about it in the talk in Guelph which is the link above. I don’t really get why he has been presenting it, and wanted to know more about that. More from the stand point of the dual role of producer and head of a standard body. The last thing I was expecting to hear about was this unfortunate unraveling.

            But as I understand it, his batch testing procedure had revealed pathogenic contamination and he initiated appropriate protocols. Further testing identified the cow of origin. Which he had further tested and has discovered the unique situation of infection of the Udder with 0157;h7 “she was hot” which he had suggested science has in the past disputed it possible.

            Which is why I now wonder, if in fact that is the case, if the contamination of the udder was deliberate through a direct injection. As it would be possible and in greater alignment with the science.

  • Sue

    Mark and David –

    Thank you!! It is because of people like Mark that we have anything even resembling reasonable rules at the local, state and federal level. The incredible honesty, transparency, and integrity each of you exhibit for the rest of us deserves both multitudes of praise, and much emulation.

    Thank you both!

  • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

    Very well said Mark!
    I don’t blame the farmer, I don’t blame raw milk, and I don’t blame or focus on a microbe that will persist in its endeavor to achieve its designated task no matter how many roadblocks we place in its path.
    We are as David correctly stated, “fighting an ideology that suggests that raw milk is inherently unsafe” and that uses, to borough your words, “scare tactics” and a “pile of unsorted garbage data”, in order to reinforce that “inherently unsafe” innuendo.
    Raw milk is, as I’ve stated before, “inherently safe”, what is in fact, “inherently unsafe”, are the FDA and CDC endorsed toxic chemicals, drugs, vaccines and adulterated foods that microbes and the human anatomy are compelled to deal with on a day to day basis. Microbes are adapting to this onslaught quite well, the human anatomy on the other hand, which is considerably more complex is not doing as well, simply because it is compelled for the sake of its existence to play host to all of these microbes that are trying to clean up and ameliorate this toxic mess.

  • Marietta Pellicano

    What is this “new development?” There are now eight (8) instead of six(6) affected by this January E-coli outbreak?
    One case, apparently a minor, whose parents have retained Marler, according to FSN? Maybe Mark shouldn’t have told Marler to go chase lettuce. Without a doubt, he’ll find an injured party come hell or high water.

  • Mark mcafee Mark mcafee

    As much as I would like to continue to openly answer each and every question, it is time to “lawyer up” and strategically innovate. Marler and his minions are in full blown assault. When pathogens start coming from inside of a perfectly clean udder and a healthy cow….this is a game changer. When BAX PCR shows its limits and a test fails to detect pathogens, smart change is due. Food safety and health of children is my highest priority.

    I will report when the bombardment stops. It might be a while.

    • theothersideofthestory

      that sucks. it would seem that in addition to all the management complexities and processes required to ensure the best product, you also need to ensure that you have security coverage to ensure that no one is tampering with your cows. I thought it was an odd thing to happen, but not so odd if it was artificially put there.

      its often why I have thought it a good idea to get shrink seals on bottles too, especially if there is any possibility of the milk being out of sight. its not expensive and an added assurance that no one have tampered with it. Industrial espianage is a real thing.

      hate to be a guy asking the hard questions

      good luck Mark.

    • Pete

      “When pathogens start coming from inside of a perfectly clean udder and a healthy cow….this is a game changer”

      You sound like the FDA (raw milk is inherently unsafe). But I wouldn’t go there just yet.

      In all likihood you simply tipped the balance from clean over into too clean.

      You were on here previously bragging how RAWMI was the only way to produce safe milk and how your milk was so clean it didn’t have the normal raw milk bacteria that would cause it to naturally clabber at room temperature.

      That was two years ago, after RAWMI. Now before RAWMI you used to point out how those same bacteria, which your milk now lacks, help protect the milk and the udder from pathogens and build healthy immune function in your customers.

      And of course go back a couple more years and that Mark McAfee would say that your cows today are having problems because they’re being fed grain and that for safe milk you need to do only 100% grassfed.

      And then there is the issue of you using high producing Holstein’s and Jersey’s which are generally of frail health and prone to health problems as compared to traditional breeds. Or that you’re buying replacements from fake-organic herds (IF Amanda Rose is correct, I don’t remember how that spat turned out).

    • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

      “When pathogens start coming from inside of a perfectly clean udder and a healthy cow….this is a game changer.”

      Mark,
      From a healthy cow perspective, no udder in its natural state is “perfectly clean” nor should it be if we truly desire a living probiotic food. Indeed, if that is what RAWMI is attempting to achieve… and if regulatory expectations require likewise when it come to food as a whole, then therein lies one of the key problem with respect to the food production and medical systems. I continually dread to think of the methods that are being used to achieve such a state; for it is only in the use of disruptive and toxic intervention can such a state be remotely achieved.

      No specific microbe can be selectively eliminated from raw food, especially raw milk, without negatively altering the healthfulness of the product as a whole. People such as Bill Marler who focus on excluding specific bacteria and as such expect and demand perfectly clean food are living in an idealistic dreamworld. In essence he/they are denying the growing scientific evidence that suggest that we should be living in harmony with microbes and that our current, “kill and destroy everything in sight” scenerio, is causing more harm then good. “Old habits die hard”

      I realize that you are trying to attain some sort of balance between the current regulatory status quo in an attempt to limit illness, and you efforts are indeed admirable. That said, I fear the Bill Marler’s of this world and all of those who would have absolute control over food production do not seem to be interested in your effort and if they do demonstrate interest it appears to be half hearted or insincere. In fact they likely view your effort as an impediment to their modus operandi, namely, manipulating human anxiety via fear and irrational logic under the pretense of safety, which in turn gives them the leverage to limit freedom of choice.

      I don’t trust people like Marler, nor do I trust the system that he feeds on in the so-called name of safety. In my mind there is no way to acquire genuine safety in this world of individuals who view and treat God’s creation with contempt.

      • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

        Let me rephrase that last sentence, “In my mind there is no way of acquiring genuine safety if people continue to view and treat God’s creation with contempt”.

        The restoration of individual liberty is our only defense against overreaching government tyranny done in the name of ostensible safety.

      • Pete

        “I realize that you are trying to attain some sort of balance…..”

        I’m sure he is trying. But is the current hyperclean approach just mere marketing, no more serious than the previous 100% grassfed approach or the probiotic milk approach to food safety?

        Or to put it differently, will he yet again ‘see the light’ and be proclaiming the absolute necessity of his next new approach? Are these sincere, or just come to Jesus moments to paper over the fact you can’t produce raw milk safely at the scale of hundreds of cows?

        • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

          Pete,
          What you are implying with your questions could be part of what motivates Mark, as it does all of us who are in business to earn a living; and although I do not know Mark personally, I think his motives are sincere and that he truly cares about producing a healthy raw milk product for the benefit of his customers.

          • Pete

            Sincere or not, Mark’s continuing problems begs the question of how big is too big for raw dairy?

            Some things are just not meant to be produced on a mass scale.

  • Gordon S Watson

    this is how the Big Lie is merchandised = on the Food Poisoning Journal web page which reports Organic Pastures’ recall, the images are of an udder being milked by hand, into a bucket, in open air. Is that an accurate presentation of how Organic Pastures does it? Hardly. In modern milking systems, milk flows directly from the teat, through tubing, into a bulk tank, with minimal contact with the open air. But the Bad Bug Team has a professional interest in scare-mongering.
    … Me – I’m not convinced that those illnesses were actually caused by pathogens in raw milk which came from OP Dairy. The proposition that ‘if 6 of 8 people in the “outbreak” drank raw milk from OPastures, then ‘that had to be the source’, is il-logical. What factor do ALL of the 8 in that cohort have in common?
    But The Bad Bug Team of professional litigators aren’t interested in logic … .

    • John

      I was also thinking about milking systems in this case. While I don’t have details about the OPDC parlour, I would suspect it might take as long as 5-6 hours to milk a herd of 550 cows. Heavy rain before and during any milking would certainly challenge hygiene; plus tend to upset the temperament of the cows and the workers. So, I’d agree with Mark’s comment, via David above, that the California winter-rains might have contributed here.
      John

    • Pete

      Cows have been milked safely by hand for untold thousands of years. I wouldn’t call it unsafe, unless one doesn’t clean the udder.

      If anything milking machines will make it worse as they inject air into the milk; especially Inside a barn with poor air quality.

      • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

        I agree milking cows by hand is not unsafe. However, when compared to machine milking and although you are correct in stating that machine milking results in the injection of air into the milk in order to keep milk flowing away from the teat end, machine milking, if the machine is maintained and operating properly, more accurately simulates the sucking action of a calf and is less traumatic on the teat and udders. As far as cleaning the udder is concerned that merely satisfies the human aversion to dirt, it doesn’t mean bacteria are not present. From my perspective the presence of bacteria is good and much needed in light of our chemically sterilized world and peoples faltering immune systems.

        • Pete

          The air quality in dairy barns is often bad. Proper machine maintenance won’t fix that. I’d beg to differ with ‘less traumatic’. Mastitis is a well established side effect to machine milking. Andd machine are often improperly set, leading to red and inflamed teats and contaminated milk being injected back into the udder; that won’t happen with hand milking.

          • Gordon S Watson

            co-pulsation milking has solved the problem of machines causing – underscore, “causing” – mastitis

          • Pete

            And how many raw milk dairies are using their expensive system?

            But it still doesn’t deal with the problems of air injection, or machines spreading mastitis cow to cow, etc. etc.

          • John

            Pete
            When milking by hand there is usually quite a lot of foaming at the milk surface, I think this is similar to air injection. The issue of contagious mastitis has also largely been eliminated through proper milking protocols.

            In terms of keeping pathogens out of milk, I’d suggest well-maintained equipment and a good milking protocol would be preferable to (and quicker than) milking by hand. If you go to the RAWMI site and look under the listing for The Family Cow you will find a good description of their approach to milking.

            John

          • Pete

            That depends a lot on how you hand milk. And I posit there is a significant difference in the degree of air injection between vacuum forced injection and milk squirted into a pail; both in intensity and relative amount.

            Mastitis…has it? The average dairy cow in any dairy, organic or conventional, gets mastitis once per lactation. A good percentage of the involuntary culling has been traced to mastitis infections; which has driven the average age of dairy cows at death from 10 down to 3.5. Hand milking doesn’t drive milk back into the teat, no matter how bad the milker is.

            Of course its quicker, thats why its done. But I think its disingenuous to claim its safer on the whole.

          • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

            Pete,

            You won’t get any dispute from me that udder inflammation (mastitis), has resulted in a good percentage of the culling in dairy herds. How much it has to do between the option of hand milking and machine milking is open to a great deal of interpretation.
            Squeezing and pulling on a cow’s teats has a tendency to stretch them and weaken the sphincter muscles considerably more then a properly maintained milking machine. As a result cows that are hand milked are much more vulnerable to teat injuries. The difference with hand milked cows and those milked with a machine and its relation to mastitis is primarily due to the difference in the size of herds and thus the level of stress associated with a small herd versus a large herd.
            A handful of cows that are hand milked are much more likely to be better managed and experience considerably less stress then a herd of a hundred or more cows. And the larger the herd the worse it is hence the reason for the high culling rate and the average age being driven down from 10 down to 3.5 years. And we aught not forget the role that genetics plays and the tendency for breeders to focus too much on production and not enough on physical traits.

          • Pete

            Yes mastitis is a complex puzzle.

            However sphincter problems and stretched out teats are something I think is associated with machines, not hands. Its not for no reason they’ve bred such short teats on cows.

          • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

            I’ve done both Pete, and if there is one thing I can say with certainty, it takes one hell of a lot longer to milk a cow by hand then with a machine. A milking machine may not be perfect however it certainly replicates more closely the sucking and messaging action of a calf. Milking by hand is a real art and requires considerable forearm strength if it is to be done properly. Have you ever tried to milk a first calf heifer whose teats are at most an inch long? When faced with that scenario/predicament only then can one truly appreciate a milking machine’s superiority over hand milking.

          • Pete

            It does take longer, but its not a hard skill to learn and strength comes with use. And for all the problems machines cause, their cost savings must be balanced against the health and safety costs. Hopefully co-pulsation delivers what it promises.

            Inch long teats is a breeding problem, wherein they’ve adapted the morphology of the cow to the machine to reduce problems caused BY the machine. Also something most likely to be found on highly selected modern breeds (and hense frail cows prone to mastitis and other sicknesses to begin with).

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    Gordon,

    Can you send me the link showing the Food Poisonng Journal website that shows the hand milking picture that you mention. I can not find it.

  • mark mcafee mark mcafee

    Gordon,
    Where did you see a picture of cows being milked by hand into a bucket?

  • Dairy Duchess Dairy Duchess

    Semi-OT, in case it hasn’t been seen (I haven’t posted links in quite some time, so just remove the space after the ‘dot’).

    http://culturecheesemag. com/cheese-bites/fda-responds-to-raw-milk

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    Gordon,

    Thank you

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    John,

    We have three herds. Each is mob grazed separately and milked separtely each day. The wait to milk for each herd is very short because each pen is brought in separately. So the longest time for any one cow to wait is less about 1.3 hours or so.

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