PA Raw Dairy Owner Clears Air over CDC; Children and Raw Milk
Once again, we learn the power of all those regulator warnings about the dangers of raw milk--they just seem to expand the market for raw milk and other dairy products.
According to Edwin Shank, owner of The Family Cow in Pennsylvania, which re-opened last week after being shuttered for three weeks when the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture found campylobacter in its raw milk: “Last week was the busiest single week and greatest weekly sales in the history of The Family Cow!..Praise the Lord! Helps to make up for the last three! It seems like the more the regulators cry ‘Wolf!’ the more our customers say ‘Where? We’d like to buy a wolf!’ With love like that...we can do anything. It’s why we love what we do!”
The commitment of his dairy’s customers is especially gratifying, given what Shank says has been continual misrepresentation by regulators of the seriousness and true dimensions of any pathogen threat from his dairy. He is especially peeved about the U.S. Centers for Disease Control report on his dairy, which I described in my previous post, saying his dairy was responsible for 148 illnesses in early 2012.
“There were 80 confirmed cases. The 148 is a magnified number by the CDC (now called “associated cases”) as they scramble to get the most mileage possible from Jan (2012). The 148 figure is arrived at when they add other ‘possible’ cases of also-had-diarrhea-and-drank-Family-Cow-milk though it was not even confirmed that they had campy in their stool. I do not EVER recall ‘possible cases’ or ‘associated cases’ being reported in any other outbreak (and I read Food Safety News everyday!) ...To me it is a clear case of intentional propaganda creep. CDC ‘officially’ says it somewhere and soon everyone is repeating it and quoting CDC and neglecting to even note that that about half of these are only guesses.”
Shank requested that I “make it very clear as you write about the 80 campy cases over 18 months ago that this event was before The Family Cow had her own laboratory to do test and hold, pre-consumptive testing. We were at that time relying on PDA’s type of testing and that is all post-consumptive testing.” For more information on the early-2012 outbreak, Shank has reproduced newsletters he sent to customers at the time.
The shutdown of milk sales at The Family Cow last month, he says, “was a regulatory issue/frustration and not an illness issue.”
Finally, in response to at least one report, Shank asked me to “make it clear that we DO NOT accuse the PDA of faking the positive August tests! We have never said that. We see the conflicting test results as frustrating, but just one of the facts of microbiology when the samples being tested have an almost undetectable, extremely minute, trace amounts whatever is being tested for.”
There have been two very difficult situations involving children and raw milk that I want to report on. The first is a tragic case, involving a three-year-old girl, Kylee Young.
She became seriously ill from raw milk at Foundation Farm in Oregon, one of 19 who became sick in April 2012. Unlike most people who get sick from tainted food, she hasn’t recovered well at all. She developed complications from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) that included a stroke and, most recently, kidney failure, requiring her to go on dialysis.
On Monday, the little girl’s mother is donating a kidney for Kylee. The family has kept the matter private for the most part, and avoided getting into a public debate about raw milk safety. As I wrote in 2012, this situation apparently involved a farm that didn’t have proper husbandry and sanitation practices in place. A real bad outcome for a family trying to access wholesome nutrient-dense food.
Now, the family needs financial help to deal with this catastrophic health problem. I’d like to encourage people here to donate to help provide the family with food and other necessities as it goes through the surgeries and recovery. Background can be found at this Facebook page, and this one, along with opportunities for donating.
The second case involves a Maine infant, four-month-old Carson Gellerson, whose mom, Alorah, was put under the microscope and investigated for child abuse....all because she prepared an infant formula based on raw goats milk. The problem developed last month, when a Maine pediatrician she visited reported the mother to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services when she proudly told him how well Carson was doing with the formula. He had been born prematurely, and then the mother had been unable to breast feed.
The DHHS began an investigation, including having Carson examined by its doctors. The case was written up in a number of publications, and generated much debate, and outrage over parent rights. Supporters organized a protest in Maine yesterday that attracted about 40 supporters.
Last evening, the family had good news. The infant’s grandmother, Tania Allen, reported on Facebook: “We are very happy to report that when we arrived home today from the rally, there was a letter from DHHS in the mailbox for Alorah and Dustin (the baby’s father), stating that they have closed the assessment involving Carson. There were no findings of abuse or neglect. We would like to thank DHHS for recognizing that he is indeed a healthy baby and that he is in good hands. We would like to thank them for their concerns and for a good outcome. We also would love to thank all of you for all of your support that you have given us over these past few weeks and for drawing attention to food freedom and parental rights!”