• The sale of raw milk for human consumption is illegal in Colorado, but people can still purchase a cow share to obtain it.
  • Unpasteurized milk can be dangerous, causing 81 illness outbreaks nationwide from 2007-2012.
    • More than half of the outbreaks involved children younger than five.
  • If you drink raw milk you may ingest harmful bacteria such as coli, Campylobacter or Salmonella.
    • The number of bacteria in raw milk is unpredictable, which makes it unsafe as it may cause serious, life-threatening illness.
  • Pasteurized milk offers many health benefits without running the threat of infection because it has been heated to kill germs.
  • Children, adults older than 65, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems have the highest risk of becoming ill from drinking raw milk.
  • If you drink raw milk and start to feel ill, contact your health care provider.
  • Drink pasteurized milk to avoid illness.



  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 790 people have become ill nationwide due to Salmonella infections linked to live poultry in backyard flocks so far this year, with 418 of those cases occurring since June 1.
    • Mesa County has one case associated with this multistate outbreak.
  • Chicks, ducklings and other live poultry can carry Salmonella in their droppings and on their bodies (feathers, feet and beaks), even when they appear to be healthy and clean.
  • Many Mesa County residents keep backyard flocks and should take precautions to avoid getting sick. Even organically fed poultry can have
    • Children younger than five, adults older than 65 and people with weakened immune systems should not handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other live poultry.
    • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where the birds live and roam.
    • Do not let live poultry inside the house and do not snuggle or kiss the birds, touch your mouth or eat or drink around live poultry.
  • Persons with Salmonella infection may develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 – 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days.
  • Mesa County Public Health investigates cases of Salmonella in the county to identify possible sources of exposure and to prevent others from getting sick.