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Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Raw Milk

Photo of the Utah State Department of Health building.
Andrea Smardon

 The Utah Department of Health is warning of a salmonella outbreak linked to raw milk. Health officials say since March, nine Utahns have become sick with salmonella after consuming unpasteurized milk from Heber Valley Milk in Midway.

Angela Dunn is an epidemiologist with the Utah Health Department.

“Raw milk is routinely a cause of food-borne outbreaks because it is the perfect temperature and breeding ground for bacteria to flourish,” she says. “So we commonly see Utahns getting sick from drinking raw milk.”

Dunn says since contaminated raw milk doesn’t look or smell any different than uncontaminated raw milk, there’s no way to tell whether or not it’s safe to drink. Public health officials warn there is always a risk when consuming raw milk, especially for young children, elderly people, and those with compromised immune systems.

But Dunn says for those who are willing to take the risk, “It’s important to be able to keep raw milk and raw milk products refrigerated,” she says. “We recommend going at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and not letting the raw milk sit out at room temperature because again, that’s where the bacteria can really multiply quickly.”

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food took a milk sample from Heber Valley Milk last week which tested positive for salmonella. More recent specimens were free of the bacteria and the dairy has been allowed to resume sales of raw milk.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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