New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today warned consumers not to consume unpasteurized raw milk from Hawthorne Valley Association, Inc. due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Hawthorne Valley Association, Inc. is located at 327 Rt 21C, Ghent, New York 12075 in Columbia County. To date, no illnesses have been reported to the Department associated with this product.
A sample of the milk collected by an inspector from the Department was discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. On May 5, 2022 the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result. Further laboratory testing, completed on May 12, 2022, 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.
The Department recommends that any consumers who purchased raw milk from Hawthorne Valley Association, Inc. immediately dispose of it and call the farm at (518) 672-4465.
Listeria monocytogenes causes listeriosis, which can be a serious and sometimes fatal infection in young children, cancer patients, elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women. It can also cause short-term, flu-like symptoms, such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea in healthy people.
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. 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.