Raw milk supply set to resume

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 01/04/2014

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A Timaru raw milk seller blamed for an outbreak of campylobacter hopes to re-open for business tomorrow.

Village Milk Timaru shut their doors last week after Community and Public Health confirmed seven cases of people contracting campylobacter were linked to milk purchased from the business on March 7 and 8.

Franchise owners Stu and Andrea Weir are awaiting the results from the last round of testing, but hope to resume business tomorrow.

"We've received a lot of support [since the news of the outbreak], people still like our milk. It was unfortunate that human error led to the outbreak. We're sure it won't happen again," he said.

South Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Daniel Williams said there had not been any further reports of campylobacter.

"However, it's too soon to tell. Raw milk is really a case of buyer beware," he said. "There is always a risk of the raw milk containing disease-causing bacteria."

A Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman said the matter was under investigation. "We don't know what, if any, offence has been committed, so it is still too early to speculate on a potential course of action," he said.

The Weirs service 100 customers a day, who buy up to 300 litres.

Ministry of Health data shows there were five disease outbreaks due to raw milk consumption between 2007 and 2009, and 16 from 2010 to 2012.

The amount of raw milk sold in New Zealand is unknown, but an estimated 1 to 3 per cent of the population consume it.

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- The Timaru Herald

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