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Foundation alleges inaccuracies in raw-milk investigation

By Dan Plutchak | WalworthCountyToday

ELKHORN — A Washington D.C.-based foundation that advocates for raw milk says the recent investigation into allegedly tainted milk from an Elkhorn farm was inaccurate.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection on Sept. 16, 2009 ordered the Zinniker Farm, Inc., to stop selling raw milk through a cow-share program after more than two dozen people fell ill.

The order says 35 people from Walworth, Waukesha and Racine counties have been diagnosed with campylobacter jejuni since Aug. 13.

Officials say all the victims said they had consumed raw milk and that thirty of them said they got it from the Zinniker farm. Tests matched campylobacter jejuni found in 29 victims’ feces to campylobacter jejuni found in cow feces on the farm.

But the Weston A. Price Foundation says the order by state officials is typical of official anti-raw-milk statements, replete with bias and inaccuracies to create the impression that raw milk should be singled out as a dangerous food.

Although DNA test results allegedly found the same strain of C. jejuni in 25 of the patients and manure samples obtained from 14 out of 30 milking cows on the farm, the agency did not find C. jejuni in any of the raw milk from the farm, according to the foundation.

The Zinnikers provide milk to nearly 200 families; thirty-five individuals became sick and, of those, not all 35 drank the milk during the time period in which the illnesses originated.

The group says state officials have not provided information regarding other individuals in the area who may have contracted C. jejuni.

The group says state officials failed to test the water at the farm and also failed to investigate other possible vectors of disease, including attendance at the recent Walworth County Fair.

The Weston A. Price Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., describes themselves as an international nutrition education non-profit, with over 11,000 members and 400 chapters worldwide.

The Weston A. Price Foundation’s advocates for safe, legal raw milk.

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