Cumbria

Food poisoning cases 'linked to raw milk' sales in Kendal rise to 56

Low Sizergh Barn Farm raw milk vending machine
Image caption The farm sells about 70 litres of raw milk a day from a vending machine installed earlier this year

More than 50 cases of food poisoning are being linked to a Cumbrian farm selling raw milk, health officials say.

Traces of campylobacter were found in six samples of unpasteurised milk sold at Low Sizergh Barn Farm in Kendal earlier this month.

Now a further 50 possible cases are being investigated by Public Health England (PHE) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Sales of milk from a vending machine at the farm have been suspended.

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning and can lead to severe diarrhoea and vomiting.

Farm owner Richard Park said he was co-operating with the investigation and had been "shocked" to discover his milk could be contaminated.

The 50 fresh cases were the result of an online questionnaire which people who had recently visited the farm were asked to complete.

Image caption Unpasteurised milk will not be allowed to be sold from the farm until further tests have been done

Those affected range in age from a one-year-old to 86.

The FSA said the farm would not be allowed to sell any more raw milk until three consecutive tests showed no further traces of the bacteria.

Mr Park said: "For months I have been testing the milk and getting the right procedures in place.

"But campylobacter wasn't one of the bacteria we were asked to test for so it came as rather a shock when I got the phone call.

"If things go reasonably smoothly, I would say that within a month we'll be back up and running and selling it again."

The farm, which began offering unpasteurised milk from its vending machine in March, sold about 70 litres a day.

In August the farm won a National Trust fine farm produce award for its unpasteurised milk.

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