Ontario issues warning against unpasteurized milk

Dr. Sheela Basrur, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, has warned the public not to consume unpasteurized milk.

This warning is based on an investigation that showed that three cases of E. coli O157 in Simcoe County might have resulted from the consumption of unpasteurized milk.

All three individuals have been released from hospital and are recovering at home.

The sale or distribution of unpasteurized milk is prohibited under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

The Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit is leading the investigation. "Unpasteurized milk may contain harmful bacteria," Dr. Basrur said. "Anyone with nausea, fever, vomiting or diarrhea who consumed unpasteurized milk should contact their doctor immediately."

Disease causing bacteria associated with unpasteurized milk include E. coli O157 as well as salmonella and campylobacter bacteria. Symptoms of E.coli O157 include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea (sometimes bloody). Young children and seniors are also at higher risk of developing serious complications, which can be fatal.

Dr. Basrur is also asking members of the public to report sales of unpasteurized milk to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food's complaint line at 1-888-466-2372 ext. 64391.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care continues to monitor the situation, in co-operation with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

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