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Warning: Staph found in Stone Meadow Farm raw milk cheese

Pennsylvania officials are warning consumers who have purchased certain raw milk cheeses from Stone Meadow Farm to discard them immediately because samples from the dairy have tested positive for the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus.

Inspectors from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture collected samples at the dairy in Centre County on Dec. 12. The cheeses were made with unpasteurized, raw milk.

logo Stone Meadow Farm raw milk cheese“The samples tested positive for the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus,” according to the state warning posted Thursday.

“The warning applies to Stone Meadow Farm’s raw 60-day aged Havarti cheese and its raw 60-day aged Colby cheese. The cheeses are labeled with the Stone Meadow Farm name and its address at 190 Quarry Road, Woodward, PA, 16882.”

Stone Meadow Farm sold the implicated cheeses beginning in October and continuing through mid-December. No illnesses had been reported that could be related to the cheeses as of the posting of the warning on Thursday.

Anyone who consumed any of the 60-day aged Havarti cheese and its raw 60-day aged Colby cheese from Stone Meadow Farm since October and developed symptoms of Staphylococcus Aureus food poisoning should seek medical attention, or if symptoms have subsided, notify their local state health center, or call 877-PA HEALTH (724-3258).

Signs and symptoms of Staphylococcus Aureus food poisoning include sudden onset of severe nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. A fever also may be present. Staphylococcal toxins are fast-acting, symptoms usually develop within 30 minutes to six hours, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stone Meadow Farm sells its cheeses in approximately half-pound blocks at the Susquehanna Valley Growers Market in Lewisburg, Union County; the Boalsburg Farmers Market in Centre County; and the Millheim Farmers Market in Centre County. The cheese also is sold in five-pound blocks to Elk Creek Café & Aleworks in Millheim, Centre County.

As with unpasteurized raw milk, the CDC warns that cheeses made with raw milk can be dangerous because they have not had the benefit of pasteurization, which kills pathogens such as Staphylococcus Aureus, E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

For details on how a current outbreak traced to raw milk in England has sickened more than 50 people, please see: Raw milk advocates make the most of anti-reg mood in U.S.

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