The New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets is warning consumers in Sullivan County and surrounding southern areas of the state not to consume unpasteurized raw milk from the Richard Dirie Farm because the product may be contaminated with Listeria. The Dirie Farm is located in Livingston Manor, NY. On April 7, an inspector from the Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services collected a sample from the Dirie Farm that was tested by the department’s Food Laboratory and found to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Dirie Farm was notified on April 9 of the positive test result, and the raw milk producer agreed to suspend production until the sample results were confirmed. Further laboratory testing, completed on April 15, confirmed the presence of the pathogen in the raw milk that was sampled. The producer is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that the product is free of harmful bacteria. In Wednesday’s warning to consumers, department officials said they know of no illnesses associated with raw milk from Dirie Farm. Raw milk is not pasteurized, a step that ordinary eliminates all pathogenic bacteria, including Listeria. Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, specially in young children, cancer patients, elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. People with more robust immune systems may suffer only short-term, flu-like symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.