March 24, 2017

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

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

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today warns consumers in Oneida County and the surrounding area not to consume unpasteurized raw milk from the Winters Grass Farm due to possible Listeria contamination. The Winters Grass Farm is located at 9104 Butler Road, Sauquoit, NY 13456. 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 March 16, 2017, the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result. Winters Grass Farm immediately voluntarily suspended sales of the product.  Further laboratory testing, completed on March 22, 2017, 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 Winters Grass Farm immediately dispose of it and call the Department at 518-457-1772 if they have any questions.

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. Although otherwise healthy persons may suffer only short-term, flu-like symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeriosis can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in 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.