Illness link to raw milk
Severe food poisoning outbreaks linked to consumption of raw milk products have struck Waikato and Manawatu, prompting a leading health expert to advise caution.
Ministry of Health data released under the Official Information Act show 19 people were hospitalised this year after consuming raw milk products.
Four people were hospitalised in Waikato on March 5 after contracting potentially deadly E coli infections. The next day five more people fell ill with the bacteria.
A month later, six more were struck down with tummy bug campylobacter in a short period of time.
Scientists determined that consumption of raw milk products was a common factor.
Massey University EpiLab director and food safety Professor Nigel Frenchsaid people should think carefully about raw food.
"We're not wanting to wrap people in cotton wool . . . I feel strongly that people should have the choice to eat raw food if they want to - but they should do it in full knowledge of the potential risks to their health."
Raw milk products are illegal in many countries, including Australia and Canada, and in Britain they must carry health warnings.