April 14, 2005

Avoid unpasteurized, raw milk

NEWMARKET- York Region Health Services reminds residents to drink only pasteurized
milk. The pasteurizing process destroys all disease-producing organisms that could cause illness.
Two residents of Simcoe County were hospitalized last week with E. coli-related illness, with a possible link to consuming raw, unpasteurized milk from a non-commercial, road-side source.
Once ingested, E. coli 0157:H7 can cause symptoms of watery, bloody diarrhea and acute abdominal cramps. Certain groups, such as the young, elderly, ill, pregnant women or immunocompromised are at increased risk.
Milk that is sold commercially through grocery stores and food markets is safe to drink. It is required by law to be pasteurized.
Pasteurization is merely a heating process over time. Commercially, milk is heated to 72„aC (161„aF) for 16 seconds at the dairy processing plant. This process destroys all disease-producing organisms including E. coli 0157:H7.
Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act of Ontario, it is prohibited to sell or distribute unpasteurized milk. The penalty for selling, or even giving away, unpasteurized milk is a fine of up to $5,000.
For information on food safety or other health related questions, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.york.ca.
Kim Clark, York Region Health Services
905-830-4444 Ext. 4101

Adapted from Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit files.

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