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Hawaii finds excess bacteria in Meadow Gold milk; stops sales

Monday, February 27, 2017 23:34
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Meadow Gold Dairies in Hawaii is under order to stop distributing and selling its 2 percent reduced fat milk because state tests during the past four weeks have repeatedly showed more than 10 times the allowed level of coliform bacteria it the product.

The order from the Hawaii State Department of Health on Monday will remain in effect until the company can prove its 2 percent reduced fat milk is safe. No other Meadow Gold products are implicated.

“Department of Health inspectors will work with Meadow Gold Dairies to investigate the possible source of contamination, approve a plan of correction, and conduct further testing to confirm the company meets the standards to resume two-percent reduced fat milk distribution and sale,” said Peter Oshiro, program director of the department’s sanitation branch, in a news release.

When the state tested samples of two-percent reduced fat milk taken from Meadow Gold Dairies on Jan. 19, Feb. 6 and 22, officials found “excessive Coliform counts” of more than 150/ml, 130/ml and more than 150/ml respectively, according to the news release.

“The maximum allowed Coliform limit for pasteurized milk is 10/ml. Coliform is used an indicator of post-pasteurization contamination,” according to the state health department.

The health department conducts monthly testing of samples of all Grade A raw and pasteurized milk produced at dairy farms and milk plants in Hawaii. State and federal regulations require that samples be taken a minimum of four out of every six months, though most jurisdictions in the nation, like Hawaii, conduct sampling every month.

If any milk product is in violation three times out of the most recent five consecutive samples on the first of three Critical Control Point (CCP) standards Hawaii state law allows the health department to suspend distribution and sale of the product. The Critical Control Point (CCP) standards are:

  1. Temperature must be 45 degrees F or less;
  2. Bacterial limits are 10,000/ml or less;
  3. Coliform limits are or less;
  4. Phosphatase limit is 1 mcg/ml or less; and
  5. Antibiotics residues are not allowed.

To resume distribution and sale of its 2 percent reduced fat milk, Meadow Gold Dairies must pass health inspections and undergo additional testing of product samples.

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