New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball warns consumers not to eat The Maiden’s Creamery “Wild Meadow” raw goat milk cheese made in South New Berlin because of possible Listeria contamination.

So far, no illnesses have been reported in connection with the goat cheese made by by Mark Harvey, 1277 Copes Corner Road.

The product is sold in various sizes of sealed flexible plastic packaging, displaying the plant number 36-1315, with a code of 101. The state’s  consumer warning affects all packages with this code. The goat cheese  was sold at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market in Cooperstown, NY, in late December 2017 and early January 2018, and at the Sunflower Natural Foods Market starting on Jan. 10.

A routine sample of the cheese taken by an inspector from the Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services on Feb. 20 was tested by the New York State Food Laboratory and discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. On Feb. 23, the manufacturer was notified of a preliminary positive test result and voluntarily recalled the product.

Test results were confirmed March 2, and the cheese will be destroyed by the manufacturer.

Anyone who has eaten any of the cheese and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should immediately contact their doctors and tell them of the potential exposure. It can take up to 70 days after exposure for symptoms to develop, so people who have eaten the unpasteurized cheese should monitor themselves for symptoms.

Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea. In high-risk groups the pathogen can cause serious infections leading to complications including meningitis, blood poisoning and death. High risk groups include pregnant women, newborns, children younger than 5, adults older than 65 and anyone with impaired immune systems, including cancer patients, diabetics and HIV/AIDS patients. It can also cause stillbirths.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a standing warning about the dangers of contracting infections, viruses and parasites from raw milk and raw milk products such as cheese. Its data particularly supports the finding that children younger than 5 are a high-risk group because their immune systems are not fully developed.

Consumers with questions about the recalled goat milk cheese can call Mark Harvey at 607-859-2227.

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