A NORTH Devon farm is being investigated in relation to two outbreaks of E. coli.
A product recall has been issued for all raw cows’ milk produced by Barton Farm Dairy in Kentisbury.
Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency are investigating a possible link between two cases of E. coli O157 and unpasteurised or “raw” milk from Barton Farm Dairy.
In both cases the people are known to have consumed milk supplied by the farm.
The dairy is believed to supply milk and other products to doorsteps and businesses throughout the country and are co-operating with this investigation.
As a precaution, Environmental Health officers have asked the dairy to stop selling and recall any raw drinking milk and to withdraw any raw milk products.
Dr Sarah Harrison, deputy director of health protection for the Devon, Cornwall and Somerset PHE Centre said: “The pasteurisation process is designed to kill a range of bacteria including E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter which cause gastrointestinal infections.
“If milk does not undergo this process then it stands to reason that infections caused by some of these bacteria become a risk factor. Milk is an excellent environment for the growth of these bacteria so the level of contamination in a storage vessel could become quite high.
“For this reason we would not advise drinking raw milk but understand that some people still choose to do so.”
Speaking to Farmer’s Weekly, farm owner Linda Wright said: “As a precautionary measure, the FSA has issued a product recall information notice.
“We drink the milk all the time ourselves and we have got lots of other customers that drink it as well. Nobody else has ever reported being ill.
“It is of great concern, especially as there are children involved. At the moment, there is no confirmation that it has come from our milk.”
According to FSA figures, there has not been reported illnesses associated with drinking raw milk in the UK since 2002.
The agency said that anyone who had bought the recalled product should contact Barton Farm Dairy by calling 01271 882283 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.