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State warns consumers against dairy’s raw milk after positive Listeria test

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Unpasteurized, raw milk from an Otego County, NY, dairy should not be consumed because it has tested positive for Listeria, according to a state warning.

Area media is reporting the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has found Listeria monocytogenes in unpasteurized cow milk produced by Muddy River Dairy in Otego County, NY. It is illegal under federal law to sell unpasteurized, raw milk across state lines. In New York it is illegal to sell it at retail stores. It can be sold only at the dairy where it is produced in New York.

The Muddy River Dairy milk tested positive for the potentially deadly Listeria, spurring the state to tell consumers to check their refrigerators for the unpasteurized product and dispose of it and contact the farm immediately.

Muddy River Dairy cannot sell raw milk until new test samples come back clear.

In a previous statement, Muddy River Dairy co-owner Karli Johnson said she and her husband Josh put in five years at his family farm in Unadilla, Joleanna Holsteins and Covered Bridge Farm Market, before purchasing the Muddy River Dairy property.

Additionally, Johnson said “there are only 46 raw milk permits in New York and we’re one of them.” She told the Daily Star that the Muddy River raw milk is not processed. “It comes right from my cows and then gets passed through a filter and tested.”

It is not legal to sell raw milk products at the retail level in New York, under the Division of Milk Control & Dairy Services Raw Milk Sales guidelines. Direct sales to consumers are allowed at dairies. However, warning signs are mandatory — “Notice: Raw milk sold here, raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization.”

Anyone who has recently consumed raw dairy products from Muddy River Dairy and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should immediately seek medical attention. Patients should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Listeria bacteria so that the proper diagnostic tests can be performed. 

It can take up to 70 days after exposure for symptoms to develop, so anyone who has consumed any of the milk is urged to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Symptoms of listeriosis can include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract.

In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

Listeriosis can also cause serious, sometimes fatal, infections in young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, including cancer patients.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as state and local health departments, have standing warnings against unpasteurized dairy products. The public health officials say there is no scientific proof that unpasteurized, raw dairy has any benefits that cannot be gained from pasteurized products.

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