State links strain of E. coli to animal waste at McBee farm

State links strain of E. coli to animal waste at McBee Dairy Farm

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NASHVILLE (AP/WATE) - State officials have confirmed that a strain of E. coli that sickened nine children has been matched to animal waste collected at a Knox County dairy farm that sells raw milk.

The Tennessee Department of Health issued a statement on Thursday following an on-site inspection of McBee Dairy Farm, laboratory analysis and interviews with close to 90 households that purchased milk from the farm.

Five of the nine children required hospitalization and three developed a severe kidney problem.

The farm was shut down for about a week during the inspections, but has since resumed operation.

State officials say the illnesses highlight the risks associated with drinking unpasteurized or raw milk.

McBee Dairy Farm issued a statement Thursday:

"We have regular testing in place now that will show us we have clean milk, but it still does not make it 100 percent safe, as no living food is 100 percent protected from having a bacteria enter it. My customers and I feel that we are well informed and able to make our own decisions about the food we consume. We also feel that the health department has done nothing to help us improve or locate a problem here. We have not been informed on any testing that we could have done or could incorporate to detect or prevent a problem. In the future, I hope to be able to work with the Universe or the health department to help them and the farmers connect in better ways. Ways that are beneficial to the health of the public, the farm, and the government."

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