State officials shut down raw milk operations at a dairy and issued a public warning this afternoon urging people to avoid unpasteurized, raw goat milk from Side Hill Acres because samples collected by inspectors returned positive results for Listeria contamination.

Consumers in Toiga County, NY, should be extra careful because the implicated dairy operation is in Candor, NY. As of the posting of the public warning today state officials had not received any confirmed reports of Listeria infections, according to the New York State Department of Agriculture. However, it can take up to 70 days for listeriosis symptoms to develop.

“A sample of the milk, collected by an inspector from the department, was discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes,” according to the warning. “On May 31 the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result.

“Further laboratory testing, completed on June 4 confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the raw milk sample. The producer is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that the product is free of harmful bacteria.”

Anyone who bought or has been given raw goat milk from Side Hill Acres should “immediately dispose of it,” the state warning says. It also says there is no reason to drink unpasteurized milk, which has repeatedly been shown to carry multiple pathogens, parasites and viruses.

“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,” according to the public warning.

Information about listeriosis
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any of the raw milk and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has consumed any of the unpasteurized milk should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop. 

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses. 

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn or even stillbirth.

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