December 10, 2015

Consumer Alert: Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination in Raw Milk in Allegany County

Consumer Alert: Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination in Raw Milk in Allegany County

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today warned consumers in Allegany County and the surrounding area not to consume “unpasteurized” raw milk from the Gerald E. Snyder Farm, due to possible Listeria contamination.  The Snyder Farm is located at RD#1, 1444 Randolph Rd., Alfred Station, NY 14803. To date, no illnesses are known by the Department to be 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 December 4, 2015, the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result and declined to suspend sales during confirmatory testing.  Further laboratory testing, completed on December 9, 2015, 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 the Snyder Farm immediately dispose of it and call the Department at 518-457-1772 if they have any questions.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, cancer patients, elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Although otherwise healthy persons may suffer only short-term, flu-like symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

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.