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Listeria Contamination Found in Raw Milk From South Dakota Dairy Farm

Update: Further test results from the South Dakota Department of Agriculture found the milk from Jerseydale Farms to contain Listeria innocua, a harmless variety of Listeria. The initial concern was that the milk contained Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially deadly pathogen.

The original article is below:

Bottled raw milk from Jerseydale Farms near Brookings has tested positive for Listeria, according to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.

The contaminated bottled raw milk was sold in the Brookings area, which includes the South Dakota State University campus. Anyone who purchased the bottled raw milk should immediately discard or return the product, the department said.

State rules for bottled raw milk in South Dakota require permits for dairies selling raw milk directly to consumers. Inspections are required at least annually depending on the grade of milk, and dairies must also submit samples monthly for bacteria and residue testing.

The unpasteurized bottled milk purchased in recent days from Jerseydale Farms may contain the potentially deadly Listeria bacteria.

Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, especially in young children, the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems, the department said. Listeria infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Symptoms of listeriosis, the illness caused by the ingestion of Listeria, include fever, muscle aches and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions can occur.

Agriculture is South Dakota’s No. 1 industry, generating more than $21 billion in annual economic activity and employing more than 122,000 people.

© Food Safety News
  • Russell La Claire

    It is extremely difficult to fathom why anyone would drink raw milk. However, it is there choice. But, when it comes to feeding the stuff to children they should be charged with criminal negligence.

    • pawpaw

      My six children are having ‘raw’ milk for breakfast, each and every day. We, as multiple other families in our area, have a family milk cow, who converts forage on our hilly land into high quality food.
      Criminal negligence? Far and away, the leading causes of death for children 1-19 are unintentional injuries. See: http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/10LCID_All_Deaths_By_Age_Group_2010-a.pdf
      You want criminal negligence charges for all parents who don’t buckle their children in, didn’t prevent a child’s fall, drowning, entanglement, death by fire, etc?
      Granted, this is a Food Safety site. While being fully aware of HUS, how many children have died of ”raw milk’ in the last ten years?

      How many children have died of food allergies in the last 10 years? How many hospitalizations for same? Estimates are that 1-2% of children are allergic to milk. Note that of current FDA food recalls year to date, the majority (5 of 8) are due to undeclared milk. Many severe childhood allergic rxns each year are due to the non-parental adult who fed a child an allergen, oft forgetting or unaware of that allergy. Want to charge these adults with criminal negligence?
      Where do we properly position ‘raw’ milk consumption, in our overall discussions of food safety? Must it be either villified or exalted?

      • J T

        There needs to be a distinction made between a single carefully controlled family cow and a farmer who might have dozens or hundreds of raw milk cows using specialized machinery and probably co-mingling milk from one cow with another.

  • And the dairy farmer basically says, “So what?”

    Which is why raw milk should be banned.


    • Sue M

      I am sick and tired of people telling others what they should and should not do,. AMERICA IS A FREE COUNTRY!!! And God gave us FREE WILL..

      We are supposed to make our own decisions… and Raw milk is VERY safe. If you feed pasteurized milk to a baby cow, the cow DIES. What does that tell you? The ultra pasteurization of 800 degrees kills all the beneficial bacteria and your body doesn’t know what to do with it. I would not drink pasteurized anything, which includes juices. I make my own nut milk with raw nuts and i wont go back to milk, but that’s my choice due to allergies.

      • But you don’t exercise “free will”.

        If you get sick, you’ll go to the doctor or the hospital, which means that medical help won’t be available to others who were more cautious (and less belligerent) about what they put in their mouths.

        If you’re found to have a foodborne illness, it will most likely be reported to a local, perhaps state, and national health center, so they can start tracking the cause of the illness. All of this takes taxpayer money.

        Then there’s the incidental impacts of your illness. For instance, your employer may be adversely impacted, or your customers, or other individuals who need you to be healthy and operating effectively.

        When you decided, at some point, to be a member of society you gave up a lot of your freedoms in order to be less of a burden on society. This is the reality, you just like to pretend your decisions impact only on you.

        • food freedom

          Interesting argument. It is the one that states used to fine the tobacco industry…the premise being their product caused a burden and a cost to society. I think if that is the case, you should be going after the low hanging fruit where this a lot of documentation of harm done—-alcohol consumption. WWhen you get that accomplished maybe them the raw milk disease outbreaks will be height enough to warrant your attention for removing it from acceptable food for consumption. I can hardly wait. Will you confiscate my cow too? Or my goat or camel or yak?

      • oldcowvet

        Nonsense, moisturizing is a common biosecurity practice on dairy farms that feed whole milk. Hard to have a conversation when folks just make up stuff

  • Tennessee

    This article needs to be updated. There was another test that was done and it was negative. Basically the shut down was for nothing. We happen to get our milk from there and know they are EXTREMELY careful. It amazes me how people on here are so quick to look in someone else’s backyard and nit pick but they refuse to see the weeds and thorns in their own backyard.

  • guest

    You can definitely drink milk past a “best buy” date. That is just a recommendation for product quality not necessarily safety. Just because raw milk isn’t on the top ten list doesn’t mean it is safe 100% of the time either. You are failing to recognize that those foods are listed based on the number of outbreaks and people sick. This includes restaurants and retail food facilities, who can’t serve raw milk therefore greatly reducing the number of people that could possibly be exposed during an outbreak.

    I agree that we should be able to eat and drink what we choose and that large, heartless corporations control the majority of our food supply. However your comment about “unsubstantiated or uneducated opinions” is highly hypocritical.

  • See my answer, re above, in regards to your “food freedom”.

    That list you linked is based on number of outbreaks, but doesn’t necessarily include consumption levels.

    Leafy greens have more foodborne illness outbreaks, but leafy greens are also one of the most highly consumed foods in the country.

    It is true, though, if raw milk consumption increases, raw milk will easily and quickly make this top ten list. The only reason it isn’t now, is consumption of it is so low.

    As for leafy green vegetables, if there were a way of pre-processing them to make them safer, then the CDC et al would recommend people only eat greens so processed. All we can do now, though, is make sure the greens are washed.

    • food freedom

      9 million raw milk drinkers nationally not counting all the farm families that have a single cow foe their own use. Show me the bodies!

  • Joan

    Some media coverage of this one has misled people. The SD Dept. of Ag jumped the gun and sent out a press release BEFORE they had determined which strain of listeria was in the milk. When they did find out it was l. innocua (harmless), NOT l. monocytogenes (harmful), they neglected to send out a follow-up press release to clarify. And they remain silent. Meanwhile, news follow-up made it sound as if Jerseydale had corrected the problem, when in fact it was never a problem and needed no correction. We should not assume that government agencies are just looking out for our well-being. Sometimes there are other factors at play. alternet.org recently published a study highlighting the way government plays with the numbers:


  • Terra

    Did no one see the follow up article about this so called “contamination??” The testing for the bacteria did not distinguish between “good” and “bad” strains of Listeria, but just lumped them all under the bad label. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/02/south-dakota-raw-milk-dairies-press-for-change-after-lab-makes-big-mistake/#.U5PJz8Z0FBU