The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Massachusetts Department of Agriculture issued a consumer alert on Friday, saying it is investigating whether a local farm’s raw milk could be contaminated with Brucella.
A man who had “contact with this farm” has a suspected case of brucellosis, the state agencies said in a news release. Test results are pending.
Brucellosis is a bacterial infection passed primarily from animal to animal and in humans typically caused by ingestion of unpasteurized milk or meat from animals infected with Brucella. Massachusetts public health authorities say they haven’t seen Brucella in livestock there in decades.
Twin Rivers Farm in Ashley Falls is being investigated as the possible source of infection, and the dairy’s raw milk sales have been suspended. The dairy sells raw milk only at the farm, not in retail stores. “The presence of Brucella in raw milk represents a significant danger to public health,” the state agencies stated.
The advisory does not extend to pasteurized milk from Twin Rivers Farm.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, brucellosis can cause flu-like symptoms including sweats, headache, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and back pains. In some cases, the infection can cause long-lasting and chronic symptoms. Adults are more likely to fall seriously ill than children.
“MDPH and DAR are advising consumers who have purchased raw milk from this Farm to discard it,” the news release states. “Persons who believe they have become ill from drinking raw milk should seek immediate medical attention and should then notify their local board of health or the MDPH Food Protection Program at 617-983-6712.”