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October 2, 2019
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Albany, NY

Consumer Alert: E. coli O157:H7 Contamination in Raw Milk in St. Lawrence County

Consumer Alert: E. coli O157:H7 Contamination in Raw Milk in St. Lawrence County
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New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today warned consumers in St. Lawrence County and the surrounding area not to consume unpasteurized raw milk from Gold Top Dairy, operated by John and Sally Ploehn, due to possible Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7. Gold Top Dairy is located at 420 Cooper Road, Hammond, NY 13646. To date, no illnesses have been reported to the Department associated with this product.

A routine sample of the milk collected by an inspector from the Department was discovered to be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.  On September 23, 2019, the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result.  Further laboratory testing, completed on October 1, 2019 confirmed the presence of E. coli O157:H7 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.

The Department recommends that any consumers who purchased raw milk from Gold Top Dairy immediately dispose of it and call them at 315-854-7163.

E. coli O157:H7 causes a diarrheal illness often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly; the condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.

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. 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 HUS.