Last week, the Salt Lake Tribune published an article implicating a Midway dairy for providing raw milk to “Mr. Cheese,” who used it to make cheese in his bathtub. The cheese was sold to restaurants and delis in the Salt Lake valley, and people who ate it became ill as a result of salmonella. The article did not specifically name the dairy; however, there is only one dairy in the small town of Midway, so it was easy enough to figure out.
The problem is…”Mr. Cheese” didn’t get his milk from the dairy in the article. They never sold to him, and when state inspectors tested the dairy for salmonella, they found none. Here is the original article, although it’s been modified to remove the reference to the dairy.
Now, the owner of the Canyon View Farm (and Heber Valley Artisan Cheese and Heber Valley Milk) is struggling to deal with the impact to his business as a result of the false implication. He tells the Tribune his daily customers have dropped form around 100 to around 15. This is huge for a small town, local business that operates on very thin margins with perishable product. And, it’s irresponsible of the Tribune to have implicated this business in the outbreak, while at the same time protecting the identity of “Mr. Cheese” and the establishments using his bathtub concoction.
Raw milk producers in Utah are required to regularly test their product. They submit to regular state inspections. They disclose the potential dangers of consuming raw milk to customers and require signed acknowledgments for purchases. Canyon View Farm is licensed by the state to sell raw milk, meaning the farm follows these testing procedures and operates in a clean environment.
I feel badly for this small business. And, while it’s out of the way for me, and not the source of my milk regularly, I will be visiting the creamery this weekend to purchase milk and cheese. I hope others in the area will do the same.