Dairy resumes raw milk sales

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, October 14, 2017

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Safe to Drink

SAFE TO DRINK – Kimberly Lambert bottle feeds a calf at K-Bar Dairy in Paradise Friday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Raw milk returned to the shelves at K-Bar Dairy this past week following a recall in August.

The Texas Department of State Health Services announced Wednesday that it is allowing the Paradise dairy to resume selling raw milk. Raw milk from the dairy had tested positive for the Brucella bacteria two months ago, prompting a recall by the DSHS.

The recall came after a public health investigation confirmed that a customer of the dairy had contracted brucellosis, a disease caused by the Brucella bacteria.

Testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Lab showed that two cows in the herd were shedding Brucella in their milk.

GOT MILK? – Kimberly Lambert of K-Bar Dairy shows off the dairy barn. The dairy has been cleared to begin selling raw milk again. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“Those two cows were separated from the herd, and subsequent testing of milk from the remaining cows has shown no evidence of Brucella bacteria in the milk or equipment, clearing the way for the resumption of sales,” the DSHS said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Kimberly Lambert, co-owner of K-Bar Dairy, said customers have been able to buy raw milk since last weekend.

“They’re happy to see me, and I’m happy to see them,” Lambert said of her returning customers.

Lambert said she and many of her customers were tested for Brucella, but she doesn’t know of anyone else who tested positive for the bacteria.

The milk is tested for a number of bacteria each month, Lambert said, and those monthly tests will now include Brucella tests. Previously, the milk had been tested quarterly for Brucella.

Despite allowing the resumption of raw milk sales, the DSHS said that people who purchased milk at the dairy prior to the recall could still be at risk of infection.

“Since raw milk is not pasteurized to kill bacteria, people who consumed milk or milk products purchased from K-Bar between June 1 and Aug. 14 are considered to be at high risk of Brucella infection and should contact their health care providers about whether they should get antibiotics to treat or prevent illness. Because Brucella can cause pregnancy complications, including miscarriage, it’s particularly important for affected pregnant women to seek medical attention,” the DSHS news release stated.

Lambert said they stopped selling raw milk Aug. 7.

The DSHS said symptoms of brucellosis include fever, sweats, headache, muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite and fatigue. Less common symptoms include inflammation of the heart, swelling of the liver and spleen and neurologic symptoms.

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