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San Diego County links 9 cases of salmonella to 'raw' milk products from Fresno

The San Diego County Administration Building downtown is shown in this undated photo.
Alison St John
The San Diego County Administration Building downtown is shown in this undated photo.

On Friday, San Diego County health officials linked nine cases of Salmonella to unpasteurized, or "raw," milk products from a producer in Fresno, and encouraged county residents to discard the products.

According to the county Health and Human Services Agency, the cases began in late September with products from Raw Farm LLC.

"The county recommends that people who have products from this company in their homes dispose of them immediately," said Dr. Seema Shah, medical director of the county's Epidemiology and Immunization Services branch. "It's also important for anyone sick to seek medical care."


"People who are ill, and those that live with them, should wash their hands frequently to avoid contaminating surfaces and foods that could spread the disease," Shah said.

The illnesses have been caused by salmonella bacteria, commonly found in human and animal intestines. The nine San Diego County residents who became ill have reported consuming Raw Farm products the week before their illness onset. The cases range in age from 1 to 41 years old. Three of the nine were hospitalized, all of which were children.

Raw, or "natural," milk has not gone through the pasteurization process that heats the milk to a high temperature for a short period of time to kill harmful germs that can contaminate raw milk. Pasteurization is the only effective method for eliminating most harmful germs in raw milk or milk products and does not significantly change dairy's nutritional value, a county statement read.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against the consumption of raw milk and related products. People most at risk for severe illness are adults 65 years and older, children younger than 5 years of age and individuals with weakened immune systems.

"People infected with Salmonella generally develop bloody or watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, nausea, vomiting and headache approximately six hours to six days after consuming contaminated foods," the county statement reads. "The illness typically lasts for 4-7 days. In some cases, people may develop severe illness that leads to hospitalization."


The HHSA is working closely with the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to continue investigating illnesses associated with raw milk and milk products.

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