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Drinking ‘Udder Milk’ poses serious health risks, officials say

The Rhode Island Department of Health is advising consumers that a company that sells raw milk, Udder Milk, has been ordered to cease and desist its sales after a woman became infected from drinking it. (WJAR)

The Rhode Island Department of Health is advising consumers that a company that sells raw milk, Udder Milk, has been ordered to cease and desist its sales after a woman became infected from drinking it.

Health officials announced Wednesday that the New York-based company has been illegally selling raw milk in several states, including Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.

A New Jersey woman who drank the company’s milk was infected with a disease called Brucellosis. She has since recovered.

“This particular bacteria can cause fevers, it can cause fatigue. It can cause muscle and joint pains,” said Ernest Julian, chief of the center for food protection at the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Julian told NBC 10 that customers would order from Udder Milk online and then meet drivers at pick-up locations. State and federal agencies are working to figure out where Udder Milk was getting its raw milk.

Adding to the danger, Julian said it can take up to six months after drinking raw milk for symptoms to appear. There have been no cases of Brucellosis in Rhode Island in the last five years.

Even though it’s illegal to sell raw milk in Rhode Island, dairy farmer Louis Escobar said he’s received plenty of calls from people who want to buy it.

“We often, often have people that ask and it's illegal for me to be selling raw milk in Rhode Island,” said Escobar. He’s the owner of Escobar Farm in Portsmouth.

There’s a demand for raw milk and health officials told NBC 10 News that Udder Milk is taking advantage of it.

“Some people think it's healthier. They're giving it to their kids and there's serious risks of illness and death associated with it,” Julian said. “It's really health fraud. They're being told this cures all kinds of diseases. It really doesn't.”

Anyone who becomes sick after consuming raw milk should contact a medical professional.

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