The Walworth County District Attorney’s Office is evaluating whether to file charges against the owners of an Elkhorn farm shut down after more than two dozen people fell ill from consuming raw milk. Assistant District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld on Monday met with three representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
“It’s a crime to sell raw milk,” Wiedenfeld said after the meeting. “Whether or not it gets charged is a determination that we have to make. I’ll be speaking to them (officials) about making a charging decision and what is the proper outcome for a case like this.”
Wiedenfeld said it will be a matter of weeks before he makes a charging decision.
According to agriculture officials, 35 people from Walworth, Waukesha and Racine counties have been diagnosed with campylobacter jejuni, a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, cramping and vomiting.
All the victims said they had consumed raw milk, and 30 of them said they got it from Zinniker Farm, Elkhorn. Twenty-one victims were under the age of 18. One was hospitalized. Twenty-seven of the victims were in Walworth and Waukesha counties.
Tests run by state officials showed the campylobacter jejuni from 25 of the patients had a DNA fingerprint later matched with bacteria found in feces from cows at the Zinniker farm.