The New York State Department of Agriculture warns consumers not to eat Connecticut Hill Melter raw milk cheese from Remembrance Farm because of Listeria monocytogenes contamination. 

The product is packaged in approximately 0.5-pound wedges wrapped in cheese wax paper named Connecticut Hill Melter and a batch number 042323. The consumer alert affects all packages with this code; however, any package with an unknown batch date should not be consumed.

This product was sold and distributed to Full Plate Farm Collective Community Supported Agriculture members in Ithaca. Remembrance Farm was recently closed by the New York Department of Agriculture because testing showed contamination of its raw milk.

At that time, Richard Ball, the state Department of Agriculture and Markets commissioner, warned against Nathaniel Thompson doing business as Remembrance Farm. The farm is in Trumansburg in Tompkins County.

An inspector collected a sample of the farm’s milk, and testing showed Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The producer was notified of the test result on Aug. 11. Additional tests on Aug. 15 further confirmed the contamination from Listeria monocytogenes.

“The producer is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that the product is free of harmful bacteria.,” according to a notice from the Department of Agriculture.

The public is warned not to consume raw milk from the farm and immediately dispose of it. Consumers who have the milk are asked to call the farm at 310-804-7240.

For the current warning, a sample of the implicated cheese collected by an inspector from the agriculture department was discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. On Sept. 15, the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result. Further laboratory testing, completed on Sept. 19, confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the cheese sample.

The Department recommends that any consumers who purchased this cheese immediately dispose of it and call Remembrance Farm at 310-804-7240.

Remembrance Farm is located on Searsburg Road, Trumansburg, in Tompkins County.

According to the agriculture department, it is important to note that raw milk and products made from it do not protect pasteurization. Pasteurization is a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a specific 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.

About Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause severe and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any of the implicated products and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about possible Listeria exposure. Specific tests are required for diagnosis because the illness can mimic others.

Also, anyone who has eaten recalled products 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 cancer patients with 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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