|Tucker Adkins Dairy Asks FDA
for Reputation Back
Test Results Vindicate Raw Milk and Dairy Farm
Falls Church, Virginia (August 3, 2011) -- "How do we get our reputation back?" That's what Tommy and Carolyn Adkins of Tucker Adkins Dairy were asking after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged last week that raw milk suspected of harboring campylobacter tested negative. On July 16 FDA issued a press release stating that three confirmed cases of campylobacteriosis in North Carolina were associated with the consumption of raw milk obtained on June 14, 2011 from Tucker Adkins Dairy of York, South Carolina. As far as is known, public health officials investigating the outbreak did not look for other possible causes of illness after discovering that the three individuals drank raw milk.
The FDA issued the press release prior to receiving the test results. The sample of raw milk testing negative for campylobacter by FDA was taken from a container obtained on June 14 by one of the individuals allegedly ill from the milk. Any threat of illness from the suspected milk produced by the dairy had already passed by the time FDA issued its press release. The agency could have waited until the test results were in but did not. The press release was a statement of agency policy that did nothing to promote or advance the public health. FDA's accusations against Tucker Adkins Dairy are based more on its policy that "no one should drink raw milk at any time for any reason" than on any evidence.
Contrast the actions of FDA with those of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the agency that has the hands-on responsibility for insuring that Tucker Adkins Dairy produces a safe product. The department could have suspended the dairy's license or suspended raw milk sales if it suspected the dairy was responsible for making people sick; it did not. The department took two milk samples on its own, each of which tested negative for campylobacter. DHEC has found that the dairy has done nothing wrong. In its seven years of operating as a licensed dairy, Tucker Adkins Dairy has never been cited for a violation by the department nor has a complaint ever been made against the dairy for the raw milk it produces.
Like FDA, the department advises the public that raw milk has inherent risk and that all milk should be consumed pasteurized. Unlike the FDA, DHEC waits until all the facts are in and does not carry out an anti raw milk agenda at the expense of a hard working family farm.