Health officials are warning people not to drink unpasteurized milk from Tucker Adkins Dairy of York, South Carolina, because as many as eight cases of Campylobacter infection in neighboring North Carolina have been linked to the farm's raw milk.
The eight North Carolina residents sickened are from three different households. All said they drank raw milk delivered from Tucker Adkins Dairy on June 14, and the onset of their illnesses was in "mid June," according to the FDA. One person was admitted to the hospital with severe symptoms.
Dairy owner Carolyn Adkins told the Associated Press that South Carolina health officials have not detected the bacteria in milk samples. A spokesman for the state health department said lab test results are still pending. It's not clear from press reports when the milk samples were collected or if there was any milk available from the implicated June 14 batch to test.
Although the retail sale of raw milk is legal within South Carolina, it is prohibited in North Carolina, where unpasteurized milk is sometimes distributed through informal "milk clubs." Under federal law, milk sold across states lines must first be pasteurized to protect the public health. There is no law against drinking raw milk.
The North Carolina customers who became ill told public health investigators they were getting raw milk deliveries twice a month via a courier from South Carolina; the FDA said the raw milk could have been distributed in other states as well. "While it is believed the full distribution of this courier is limited, this information is not fully understood at this time," the FDA said in a news release. The agency said the milk was being transported in one-gallon containers.
The North Carolina Division of Public Health and the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, together with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the FDA, are working to investigate the outbreak and "to take appropriate action to address any product that may be remaining on the market," the FDA said in its warning statement.