Consumers in New York’s Allegany County and surrounding area were told not to consume “unpasteurized” raw milk from the Gerald E. Snyder Farm due to possible Listeria contamination. The public health warning came from the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets. The Gerald E. Snyder Farm is located at RD#1, 1444 Randolph Rd., Alfred Station, NY. The department has not yet associated any illnesses with the product that is subject of the public health warning. A department inspector collected a sample of milk from the farm that was found to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The milk producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result on Dec. 4, 2015, and declined to suspend listeriabug_406x250sales during confirmatory testing. Further laboratory testing, completed on Dec. 9, 2015, confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the raw milk sample. The Snyder Farm is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that the product is free of harmful bacteria. The department recommends that any consumers who purchased raw milk from the Gerald E. Snyder Farm immediately dispose of it and call the department at 518-457-1772 if they have any questions. Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, especially in young children, cancer patients, elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Others 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. It is important to note that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization. Pasteurization is a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. Pasteurization kills the bacteria responsible for numerous illnesses and diseases, such as listeriosis, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria and brucellosis. Pasteurization of milk is recognized internationally as an effective means of preventing outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, including listeriosis.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)