WEST JORDAN, Utah — Two weeks after local health officials announced a cluster of illnesses likely caused by drinking raw milk, the source has been traced to a West Jordan dairy.
On October 11, 14 people across the state, including ten in Salt Lake County, were reported to have been infected with campylobacteriosis. The individuals were between the ages of 2 and 73 years old but only two had to be hospitalized briefly before being released to recover at home.
The trend of illness concerned officials and they began an investigation to find the source of the disease.
Of the sick Utahns at least 12 reported drinking raw milk purchased from the same dairy.
“Most people are just going to experience that diarrhea, the abdominal pain, the fever,” said epidemiologist Delaney Moore, people with weakened immune systems, young children, older adults and pregnant women can have more serious complications and longer illness and in really severe situations, Campylobacter can lead to paralysis and even death.”
Raw milk refers to milk that has not been pasteurized, which is a process that kills harmful bacteria like Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.
Two weeks later, officials confirmed the disease came from a West Jordan dairy called “Utah Natural Meat and Milk,” located at 7400 5600 West.
The investigation found the bacteria is the same genetic Campylobacter strain that made the Utahns sick.
As officials tested products further, the dairy’s license to sell raw milk was suspended about a month ago. Since the suspension, no new illnesses have been reported, The Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) explained.
The West Jordan dairy is still open and selling other products, but officials suggest opting for pasteurized milk.
“Overall, we’d recommend that you don’t consume raw dairy products,” added Moore, who works with DHHS. “There’s always a risk no matter how hygienic the farm that there is harmful bacteria in the milk.”
In Utah, raw milk is legally allowed to be sold directly to consumers as long as they are licensed to do so. There are 16 raw milk retailers in Utah, with three being in Salt Lake County.
Health officials warned earlier in October that drinking raw milk can be especially dangerous for kids, pregnant women and elderly adults.