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O.C. Kids Sick After Drinking Fancy, Unpasteurized Raw Goat Milk

These people seem really into goat milk (Photo by Goodluz via Shutterstock)
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Three Orange County kids got really sick after drinking some high-end, unpasteurized goat milk that came from a farm near the Central Coast.

Public health officials told the OC Register that the children got campylobacteriosis infection from Claravale Farm's raw goat milk. Even one of the kids had to be hospitalized. The symptoms aren't pleasant: they include diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, vomiting and fever. And people usually get the symptoms within two to five days of getting in contact with the organism. The illness is often associated with unpasteurized dairy products and water, and mostly affects young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

It's not just the SoCal kids, though, who were affected by the farm's raw milk. Six NorCal folks were diagnosed with the sickness in March after drinking raw milk from the same Paicines farm, according to Free Lance, a San Benito County news site. After the state investigated Claravale Farms, they forced the owners to do a mandatory recall, telling everyone to get rid of all Claravale Farms products with the "March 28" expiration date.

The raw milk doesn't look like it's cheap either. On the farm's Yelp page, there are 4 dollar signs associated with it. While state officials say that drinking raw milk is a contentious topic, saying that there are a lot of germs found in raw milk that could make people sick, Claravale Farm has something different to say. In the FAQ section of their website, they say that raw milk "tastes great!" and is "nutritious!" They add:

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Raw milk is unique in that it is the only significant source of a complete food in our diet that is not processed in some form before being eaten. For instance, the enzymes are all available, whereas in pasteurized milk, less than 10% remain. What this means, is that your body can more readily utilize all of the nutrition that is available in this milk. That's good for you, and it's great for your kids!

Claravale Farms launched a GoFundMe campaign in April and posted a message that said the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) cleared them to start selling their milk in stores and farmers markets again. However, they're still asking folks to donate to their crowdfunding campaign because they're about to lose their business. While they say it's partly due to the recall, they say it's mostly due to settlement costs surrounding lawsuits filed by two former employees who are accusing them of violating California labor laws. They say the claims are "baseless." Their GoFundMe goal is a hefty one, at $600,000.