Horst consumed raw milk in his youth. He feels it did not cause him illness because it was only hours old and his body was tolerant to it.
“I grew up on raw milk, never got sick off it or thought about safety,” he said.
Milk-drinkers cannot see or smell the harmful bacteria, according to Martin Bucknavage, a senior food safety extension associate for Penn State.
“It’s a pretty severe disease when people get it,” Bucknavage said, saying symptoms often last four to six days.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns about harmful bacteria in raw milk on its website. However, organizations like the Weston A. Price Foundation say raw milk builds a person’s immune system.
The milk industry started pasteurizing its products by heating them when it realized longer shipping times were sickening entire blocks of people decades ago, Bucknavage said.
Campylobacter jejuni can be ingested by mishandling food, particularly poultry, at home. Bucknavage said periodic outbreaks are not uncommon in the United States, although having more than two dozen people involved is rare.
“Everybody has to recognize there is a risk when consuming raw milk,” he said.
Campylobacter affects the intestinal tract and can sometimes affect the bloodstream and other organs. It is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis, which includes vomiting and diarrhea.
The Berkeley County Health Department recommends that anyone who has consumed raw milk in the past few weeks and is experiencing the above symptoms contact their health provider.
Raw milk facilities in Franklin County
Five farms that have a permit to sell raw milk:
1. BMB Farm, St. Thomas-Edenville Road, Chambersburg, Pa.,
2. Son Rise Farm, Amberson Road, Spring Run, Pa.
3. Stoney Ridge Farm, Swamp Fox Road, Chambersburg.
4. Family Cow LLC, Old Scotland Road, Chambersburg.
5. Wadel’s Dairy, White Church Road, Shippensburg, Pa.