Dairy farm linked to E. coli cases cleared to resume operations

(WBIR) The Knox County Health Departments said Friday a Mascot dairy farm can resume operations after its raw milk was linked to E. coli cases.

Officials report that current outbreak associated with raw milk from McBee Dairy Farm appears to be over. The most recent samples from the farm's milk has come back clean. The investigation revealed that the contamination more than likely occurred in early October. All nine E. coli cases involved children and three developed complications.

MORE: E.coli cases linked to Knox Co. dairy farm

Since there are no new cases and several test have come back negative, the health department lifted the cease and desist order Friday from McBee Dairy Farm. As part of the agreement, McBee Dairy Farm has agreed to work with the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Office's food and safety expert in dairy operations.

"Our investigation has not identified any specific problem with McBee Dairy Farm; it's just the nature of the raw milk industry," KCHD Director Dr. Martha Buchanan is a release. "Milk can be so easily contaminated given the proximity of the source of the milk and the source of the contamination, which is frequently fecal bacteria, that even with safety precautions in place at the dairy, there is no way to guarantee that raw milk is safe for consumption."

Knox County health officials are warning milk drinkers to be cautious of raw milk. Raw milk is not pasteurized. By law it cannot be sold to the general public in Tennessee, but anyone who owns a cow or a share in a cow can legally drink raw milk.


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