In December 2016, Public Health England investigated an outbreak of campylobacteriosis in North West England, with 69 cases in total. Epidemiological, microbiological and environmental investigations associated the illness with the consumption of unpasteurised cows' milk from Farm X, where milk was predominantly sold from a vending machine. Campylobacter was detected in milk samples which, when sequenced, were identical in sequence type as pathogens isolated from cases (Clonal Complex ST-403, Sequence Type 7432). The farm was served with a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order to prevent further cases. To our knowledge, this is the first outbreak of campylobacter associated with unpasteurised milk in England since 1996. Our findings highlighted several important lessons, including that the current testing regime in England for unpasteurised milk is not fit for purpose and that the required warning label should include additional wording, underscoring the risk to vulnerable groups. There has been a substantial increase in both the volume of unpasteurised milk consumed in England and the use of vending machines to sell unpasteurised milk over the last 10 years, making unpasteurised milk more readily accessible to a wider population. The evidence generated from outbreaks like this is therefore critical and should be used to influence policy development.
- food-borne infections
- raw milk