Raw milk from a Kuna dairy in southwest Idaho is available again in the Treasure Valley after 13 illnesses were linked to the dairy during October. The Idaho State Department of Agriculture reported no deficits during an inspection of Natural Farm Fresh Dairy on Oct. 27. The Ag Department evaluated the whole process from milking to bottling. Upon passing the inspection, the dairy is now selling its milk in stores again.
The dairy has been extremely cooperative in pulling their product from store shelves when the epidemiological investigation revealed the only common food identified by all infected people was the raw milk. Even though testing of samples of raw milk from two different batches revealed no bacterial contamination, epidemiologists believe raw milk was the most likely source of the infections based upon their investigation.
It is not uncommon during apparent foodborne outbreaks to never definitively identify the source of contamination. In some instances, possibly contaminated food is either eaten or discarded by the time people become sick in clusters and public health officials identify an apparent problem in the food. Without positive culture results from the tested milk, we will probably never know with 100 percent certainty the exact source of these illnesses. But everyone involved responded with a focus on protecting public health. Our hats go off to the district health departments, Idaho agriculture officials and the dairy for putting people’s health first.