Food Safety Magazine

News | February 12, 2019

Raw Milk from Pennsylvania Farm Linked to Multistate Brucella Exposures

By Staff

Raw Milk from Pennsylvania Farm Linked to Multistate Brucella Exposures

Multistate exposures linked to milk is currently being investigated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and various state health officials.

Raw, unpasteurized milk from Miller’s Biodiversity Farm in Quarryville, PA, is believed to be the source of an illness due to Brucella RB51 in 19 states. Milk samples from Miller’s Biodiversity tested positive for RB51. A cow that tested positive for RB51 has been removed from the milking herd. As of January 22, 2019, investigators have determined that people in 19 states have bought or consumed raw milk from the implicated farm.

So far, CDC says there is one confirmed brucellosis illness in New York. That illness was diagnosed in November 2018. Other illnesses have yet to be confirmed with certainty because this particular strain of Brucella is drug resistant, and testing options are limited, making it difficult to diagnose. Also, CDC says that early brucellosis symptoms are much like the flu.

The one confirmed illness is New York is only the third known case of Brucella RB51 linked to raw milk or raw milk products produced in the U.S. The previous two (human) cases occurred in October 2017 (New Jersey; purchase made online) and August 2017 (Texas; purchased from a local farm). Despite only three confirmed cases of RB51 over the past two years, CDC says that hundreds of others were potentially exposed to the bacteria during those three illnesses.

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