New tests required before a New York raw milk dairy will be allowed to resume sales are scheduled for today.

Sales at the Shunpike Dairy in Millbrook, NY, were suspended Jan. 30 by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball. The state agriculture commissioner suspended sales because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination of the raw milk produced by Shunpike Dairy.

Ball warned consumers in Dutchess County and the surrounding area not to consume the unpasteurized raw milk from the Millbrook dairy.

Shunpike made the transition to selling unpasteurized, raw milk in 2010, now making only on-the-farm sales directly to consumers.

No confirmed illnesses have been reported in association with the current incident, but it can take up to 70 days after exposure for symptoms of Listeria infection to develop. The state ordered sales at the dairy suspended when a routine test turned up traces of bacteria and additional testing confirmed the milk was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The first sample of the milk collected by a state Agriculture’s inspector was discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The dairy operation was notified of a preliminary positive test result on Jan. 25, 2019. The further laboratory testing, completed on Jan. 30, 2019, confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the raw milk sample.

The dairy is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that its product is free of harmful bacteria. The sales suspension order will likely continue for a few more days because new results from today’s testing likely won’t be available until Friday or Monday.

Shunpike sold milk for pasteurization by commercial dairies until 2010 when it made the transition to raw milk, selling milk that is not pasteurized directly to consumers. New York law requires that all raw milk sales occur on the farm where the milk is produced. The product is banned from retail outlets.

Anyone who recently purchased raw milk at the Shunpike Dairy should immediately dispose of it and call 845-702-6224, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. Without pasteurization, which is a heat treatment, raw milk may contain viruses and disease-causing bacteria, such as Listeria monocytogenes.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  in Atlanta says Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by the germ Listeria monocytogenes. People usually become ill with listeriosis after eating contaminated food, including raw milk.

The disease primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

Most people with invasive listeriosis require hospital care, and about one in five people with the infection die. When listeriosis occurs during pregnancy, it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or newborn death. Listeriosis during pregnancy results in a fetal loss in about 20 percent and newborn death in about 3 percent of cases.

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