The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball has warned the public to not consume unpasteurized, raw milk from Thomas Miller dba Miller Dairy Farm because of Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The dairy is in Pine Island, NY, in Orange County. As of the posting of the warning no illnesses had been confirmed but it can take up to 70 days after exposure for symptoms of Listeria infection to develop.

“The producer is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that the product is free of harmful bacteria,” according to the warning. “The department recommends that any consumers who purchased raw milk from Thomas Miller DBA Miller Dairy Farm immediately dispose of it and call the producer at 845-772-2492.”

A sample of the milk collected by an inspector from the department was discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. On April 21 the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result. Further laboratory testing, completed on April 29, confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the raw milk.

“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,” the warning states. 

“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.”

About Listeria infections

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has consumed any raw milk from the implicated producer 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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