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New York raw milk producer shut down because of contaminated product


New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today warned consumers not to consume unpasteurized, raw milk from the farm of Eric and Jessica Nickol because tests have shown contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.

The producer is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that the product is free of harmful bacteria.

The Eric and Jessica Nickol Farm is located at 995 County Highway 35, Maryland, NY, in Otsego County. To date, no illnesses have been reported to the department in relation to the product.

A sample of the milk collected by an inspector from the department was discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. On Nov. 9 the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result. Further laboratory testing, completed on Nov. 14 confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the raw milk sample. 

The Department recommends that any consumers who purchased raw milk from the farm of Eric and Jessica Nickol immediately dispose of it and call the farm at 607-386-3951.

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.

About Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has consumed any of the implicated milk and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has consumed any of the milk should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop. 

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses. 

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

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