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Elliot Olsen is a nationally known foodborne illness lawyer who has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member contracted salmonellosis from contaminated raw whole milk, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

Contaminated raw whole milk from Pot O Gold Dairy was a leading reason for an increase in 2018 Salmonella cases in Pennsylvania’s Erie County, according to the county’s department of health.

The total of Erie County’s salmonellosis cases more than doubled last year, from 22 in 2017 to 47. Twenty-five cases were reported in October, and at least nine were linked to raw whole milk from Pot O Gold Dairy in Bear Lake.

Salmonellosis is the illness caused by Salmonella bacteria, and symptoms include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting.

“The health department always recommends pasteurized milk,” said Charlotte Berringer, director of community health for the county’s department of health. “There are other diseases that can be transmitted through raw milk.”

The Salmonella outbreak from Pot O Gold’s contaminated raw whole milk ended by November, and no new salmonellosis cases were reported in Erie County in December.

Last year’s total of 47 cases were the most for Erie County since 2010, when 84 cases of salmonellosis were reported.

Raw whole milk contamination to blame for Erie County Salmonella rise

Contaminated raw whole milk from Pot O Gold Dairy was a big reason for a significant increase in 2018 Salmonella cases in Pennsylvania’s Erie County.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health said in mid-October that the contaminated raw whole milk from Pot O Gold was sold in half-gallon glass containers beginning on Sept. 10. The bottles were distributed to 16 stores, in the counties of Crawford, Erie, McKean, Venango, and Warren.

The list of stores by county:

  • CRAWFORD: Buck and Kathy, Titusville; D&J Bakery, Cambridge Springs; Miller’s Country Store, Cochranton.
  • ERIC: Corry Lumber, Corry; Duran’s Farm Fresh Products, Waterford; Edinboro Market, Edinboro; Orton’s Fruit Market, North East; Sander’s Market, Corry.
  • McKEAN: Circle K Feeds, Kane.
  • VENANGO: Farmer’s Daughter’s Country Market, Seneca.
  • WARREN: Kondak’s Market, Clarendon; Lottsville Milling, Lottsville; Scandia General Store, Scandia; Shell Service Center, Warren; Town and Country Store, Sugar Grove; Youngsville Hardware, Youngsville.

“Raw whole milk” is any milk that has not been pasteurized. Pasteurized milk is milk that has been heated to destroy any dangerous microorganisms.

Proponents of drinking raw whole milk say it can boost the body’s immune system, prevent lactose intolerance, and help prevent allergies. Those proponents also argue that pasteurizing raw whole milk damages or destroys its nutrients and “good” bacteria.

On the other hand, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say there is no evidence to support those claims. The CDC reported that between 1998 and 2011, almost 2,400 Americans were sickened in 148 foodborne illness outbreaks caused by contaminated raw whole milk or contaminated cheese made with raw whole milk.

Of the people sickened during that 14-year span, 284 needed to be hospitalized, and two victims died. Of the 104 outbreaks in which the ages of patients were included, more than 80 percent involved teenagers or younger children.

The CDC reports that about 1.2 million Americans contract salmonellosis annually, and about 23,000 victims will require hospitalization. Additionally, about 450 of them will die.

Salmonellosis develops anywhere from 12 hours to 72 hours after drinking raw whole milk or eating food contaminated with Salmonella. Most victims recover without needing to see a doctor, but if diarrhea becomes so severe that dehydration occurs, then hospitalization is necessary.

Groups most at risk for developing salmonellosis: children under the age of 5, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems. In that last group are pregnant women, whose immune systems are weakened by hormonal changes. A pregnant woman who develops salmonellosis can suffer a miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature labor.

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Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by foodborne pathogens. You can contact him for a free consultation by filling out the following form and submitting it: