Pennsylvania Asks Raw Milk Producers to Discontinue Brucella Vaccination

From American Dairymen

It’s not often that the medical and public health establishments express concern about vaccination, but in Pennsylvania, authorities are now advising raw milk producers to “stop immunizing their cattle for Brucella.”

The advisory came in the form of a November 30 letter to Pennsylvania raw dairies from the state’s Department of Agriculture, signed by two officials—David Wolfgang, director of its Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services, and Lydia Johnson, director of its Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services. In effect, the letter seems to shift blame associated with at least two recent cases of brucellosis in humans from dairy producers to the vaccine itself. In particular, regulators have blamed Udder Milk, a distributor of raw milk in several northeast states, for one of the illnesses and threatened the firm with shutdown. From all accounts, including from Kathy on this blog, Udder continues in operation.

In its letter, the PDA refers to “several cases of brucellosis in humans that have been linked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to consumption of raw dairy products in the Southern and Mid-Atlantic states. In these unusual cases, the Brucella isolated is identical to the strain of bacteria used in the RB 51 vaccine. The news release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that, ‘the only way to avoid this potential exposure to RB 51 is to drink pasteurized milk.’ “

But by the end of its letter, the PDA adds a second option for avoiding exposure to RB 51: discontinue immunizing cows with the Brucella vaccine. “This is especially important if the herd contains Jersey cattle,” the PDA letter says, since all the human infections thus far have “come from vaccinated Jersey cattle.” Pennsylvania has one of the friendliest raw dairy licensing programs in the country, with about 35 dairies covered. Plus, additional dozens of dairies produce without licenses, selling directly to food clubs.

One Pennsylvania raw dairy farmer who doesn’t vaccinate his cows for Brucella told me he was stunned by the PDA letter. “I have never seen anything like it before in my dairy farming career. A state agricultural agency admitting that two cases of human illness have a direct identical bacterial link to vaccinations and advising raw milk farmers to stop immunizing their cattle because of this risk!”

He’s never seen anything like this because the medical establishment is very reluctant to blame vaccines for creating problems of any sort, in animals or humans. Until the PDA stepped up with its transparent assessment, the CDC was blaming raw milk for the problem, and saying the only solution was pasteurizing the milk.

20 comments to Pennsylvania Asks Raw Milk Producers to Discontinue Brucella Vaccination

  • Im crying right now…really i am…I love pennsylvania i always have
    we have to all call those two folks up above and give’m a BIG THANX


  • That would be real nice now if New York And New jersey followed suit and so on

  • When will states start testing raw milk for Brucelosis. It is cheap and easy. CA does and its no big deal

  • John Dutcher

    Michigan tests for it in all commercial herds, but that is NOT the point Mark, seems Pennsylvania has come to the conclusion it is a match to the brucella vaccine, as per what Ken was saying earlier. Also, here in Michigan, we have legal herdshares, but really no truly legal raw milk dairies, as of yet.

  • John Dutcher

    Guess, I didn’t finish my statement, no legal raw dairies, no testing for brucellosis in raw dairies. My friends have been milking Jerseys for over 30 years, raised two kids on raw milk and now their grandkids drink it too( cream,butter,ice cream,etc.). They used to milk commercially, but got very tired of milking cows and losing money all at the same time.

  • On behalf of RAWMI,
    RAWMI requires proof of Brucella freedom in their listing approval. RAWMI will review our criteria, but I believe that a Brucella Bang’s test is very easy and cheap and will be the way forward for all raw milk dairies. Brucellosis is an ugly disease giving rise to undulant fever and many times chronic problems. Brucella vaccinations have helped the dairy industry to get the disease under control and has been and still is a very important tool in the fight against bovine brucellosis. This unexpected link between raw milk and possible vaccination strain disease is surprising.

    Note to John Dutcher. Please understand that just because 2 farm kids never got sick from drinking their own farm milk, does not indicate that there is no problem. We are always talking about risks of many people drinking. We want many people to get access to raw milk and therefore high precautions need to be taken so that the milk is safe for everyone.

    • Mary McGonigle-Martin


    • D. Smith D. Smith

      It’s not at all surprising. All vaccines shed. People who have autoimmune diseases know this better than anyone else.

    • John Dutcher

      With all due respect, I did not say that to portray those children as living proof of the safety of the milk,I apologize if I misrepresented something. Those children drank raw milk for all their growing years, even when the parents were milking commercially and had all the state required testing, vaccinations, etc. My wife and I have been drinking their milk for quite a few years also as have about a dozen other folks too, this being all anecdotal, I am aware. I can very well understand your position as to opening up access to raw milk in a much larger arena and doing it in small steps and very controlled as to keep tptb “happy”. :>)

  • Bob

    That’s odd. They poison the milk with vaccines and then say, “don’t drink unless pasteurized due to the poison we just added to it”. Same happened with the Pertussis vaccine which created many new cases of whooping cough in children linked to the a specific strain found in the vaccine. Their answer? Get another vaccine. No one considers that not all vaccines are safe or effective.

  • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

    The use of a brucella vaccine (there have been several) has generated inconsistent results. In effect, when it comes to preventing brucellosis, it has proven itself to be a hit and miss approach with many drawbacks, such as inducing abortion when administered to pregnant cows. The persistence of a serological response in animals of vaccinated herds is also problematic and as such compromises the validity of testing for the disease in such herds. The current rifampicin-resistant mutant B. abortus RB51 strain although stated to exhibit “negligible interference with diagnostic serology”, scientists nonetheless do not know the overall implication of using the above genetically engineered vaccine on animals and likewise humans and the environment that are exposed to products from those vaccinated herds. The use of an ARM (Antibiotic Resistant Marker) gene to a commonly used antibiotic in medicine to develop the RB51 vaccine is especially problematic.

  • So what basically ken is saying is that its experimental like chemotherapy i think so Catharina.vaccines are not safe.
    Ken is smart ….real smart

    question…. as Im not that privy to all vaccines..But I always wonder
    why the heck do we or did we need to give the cow help to get better with a vaccine?
    can’t a farmer treat illnesses without vaccines?

  • any farmers I appreciate your knowledge on this
    I always thought vaccines were like chemotherapy
    bad and basically do more damage and are experimental
    and can have adverse chronic side effects.
    please advise someone

  • William March

    John D I am originally from Brooklyn and if you think you can survive in Brooklyn by being naive you are mistaken .By the way the bridge is still for sale in Brooklyn and I think you are the type of customer they are looking for .

  • mark mcafee mark mcafee

    The idea of creating immunity through the use of a dead or attenuated pathogen that triggers antibody creation is not new. It is well established.

    However, the abuse of vaccination for more and more issues and the use of active and or live vaccinations is scary!

    Now that this has happened…I wonder if the families effected will sue the vaccine manufactures for injury? Now that there is a known smoking gun and a matching DNA fingerprint. Why not…they do it all the time to raw milk producers.

    This time I wonder if the vaccination manufacturer will claim that their product is not deficient and that the farmer is to blame because they failed to pasteurize. Fingers pointing all over the place.

    There is no end to the blame game.

  • John Dutcher

    I am not going to get into a pissing war with you, Iwill just say that my experiences with state and federal legislators and regulators is very much different than yours.
    John Dutcher

  • John Dutcher

    Pennsylvania’a regulators seem to be a bit more in touch than our state’s( Michigan) and also seem more progressive than the feds too, which I find not only surprising but somewhat refreshing.
    John Dutcher

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