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6 ill after drinking raw milk from Minnesota farm

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At least six people became ill after they drank raw milk from a dairy farm near Cambridge, Minn., the Minnesota Department of Health reported.

State health officials warned anyone who had bought raw milk from the Jaloszyski dairy farm, roughly 45 miles north of the Twin Cities, to discard it.

At least three of the six had the bacterium Campylobacter jejuni, the symptoms of which include fever, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal pain, malaise, and vomiting, the journal Food Safety News reported.

The farm's owners were unavailable for comment, the Star Tribune reports.

Farms in Minnesota can legally sell raw milk, but the product carries a greater risk for food-borne illness, state health officials say. Advocates say unpasteurized milk has nutritional benefits.

The state Department of Agriculture says, "While some Internet proponents claim that raw milk has special nutritional properties, most respected health experts agree that any health benefits offered by unpasteurized milk are also provided by pasteurized milk." The state has more information on raw milk here.

Last fall, a lengthy legal battle between state health officials and a Minnesota dairy farmer over his sales of raw milk ended with a $585 fine for the farmer. Michael Hartmann, of rural Gibbon, had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts that alleged he sold unpasteurized milk contaminated with E. coli despite state efforts to stop him, the Pioneer Press reported.

Twenty-five people in Minnesota got salmonella poisoning beginning in April from Mexican-style cheese made with raw milk, and 15 of those were hospitalized and recovered.

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