Ag officials, county health department urge residents to discard raw milk

(This story was updated Aug. 9 at 11 a.m.)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Consumers and retailers who purchased raw milk from Green Acres Jersey Farm, 725 Prescott Road, Lebanon, should discard it immediately due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination found in a recent sample collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Tests

The raw milk sample was collected from the farm during required routine sampling by a commercial laboratory July 29, and later tested positive for the bacteria.

Green Acres Jersey Farm, owned by Jonathan Smoker, sells directly to consumers and in an on-farm retail store. The packaged raw milk is sold under the Green Acres Jersey Farm label in plastic gallon and half gallon containers, labeled as “raw milk.”

Agriculture officials have ordered the owner of the farm to stop the sale of all raw milk until further notice. Two samples taken at least 24 hours apart must test negative before the farm can resume raw milk sales.

Regulations

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized. Pennsylvania law allows farms to sell raw milk but requires the farms to be permitted and inspected by the agriculture department to reduce health risks associated with unpasteurized products. There are 160 farms in Pennsylvania permitted to sell raw milk or raw milk cheese.

Symptoms of Listeriosis usually appear within 1-3 weeks, but may appear after as little as 3 days or as long as 70 days after consumption. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. If the infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions can occur. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness, but infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth.

To date, the Pennsylvania Health Department is not aware of any illnesses related to these products. Any person who consumed a product from Green Acres Jersey Farm and has symptoms should consult their physician, visit their local state health center or call 877-724-3258. For more information about Listeriosis, visit www.health.state.pa.us.

Also, the Allegheny County Health Department is advising local residents to discard raw milk produced by “Your Family Farmer” in Chambersburg, Franklin County, and sold under the label “The Family Cow,” because of potential bacterial contamination.

The Family Cow, owned and operated by Edwin Shank, sells directly to consumers in an on-farm retail store and at drop off locations and retail stores around Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley, as well as south-central Pennsylvania.

Locations

The product is sold at seven locations in Allegheny County: Eichner’s Family Farm in Wexford; East End Food Co-op in Point Breeze; and directly to consumers at five drop-off points throughout Allegheny County.

The drop-off points are in Ross, McKnight Road, parking lot beside Jo Ann Fabrics; Bethel Park, parking lot behind Tony’s Auto Center and South Hills Church of Nazarene; Swissvale, Getz Memorial Park; Green Tree, parking lot of Beth El Congregation; and at Pittsburgh Mills, Wal-Mart parking lot.

Cases

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has confirmed two cases of Campylobacter infection in people who consumed the raw milk. Based on a consumer complaint, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture collected raw milk July 29 from “Your Family Farmer” Dairy and positive test results for Campylobacter were confirmed Aug. 5.

Symptoms

People who consumed raw milk and have prolonged diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain should contact their health care provider for testing and possible treatment. There have been no recently confirmed Campylobacter cases in Allegheny County thus far.

Earlier this May five people consumed unpasteurized milk from Your Family Farmer and suffered illnesses confirmed to be related to Campylobacter. The dairy has ceased production until further notice.

5 Comments

  1. Mr. Baker says:

    I would like to know more facts about this raw milk Alert?

    • After the Department of Agriculture received a consumer complaint, it collected
      samples of raw milk during an investigation July 29.
      Positive test results for Campylobacter were confirmed Monday, Aug. 5.
      Additionally, the Pa. Department of Health confirmed two cases of Campylobacter
      infection in people who consumed raw milk from the farm.

      Is there additional information you’d like?

      • Mr. Baker says:

        How can a small dairy dairy sell raw milk so they can make a living, reduce the bacteria and other pathogenes. Can you research data which can assit these wonderful people on small farms, and their clients, on cleaniness steps and guide-lines that can reduce the risk of raw milk causing illness? With your knowledge and technology today isn’t there more Education you can provide these folks? You have the power to help, but if money drives the Goverments motivation, folks won’t understand more about raw milk. Your chioce.

        Mr. Baker.

  2. Mr. Baker says:

    How can a small dairy dairy sell raw milk so they can make a living, reduce the bacteria and other pathogenes. Can you research data which can assit these wonderful people on small farms, and their clients, on cleaniness steps and guide-lines that can reduce the risk of raw milk causing illness? With your knowledge and technology today isn’t there more Education you can provide these folks? You have the power to help, but if money drives the Goverments motivation, folks won’t understand more about raw milk. Your chioce.

    Mr. Baker.

    • Kiera says:

      Mr. Baker,

      There are a lot of resources available to all farmers regardless of the size of their operation or the niche market they service. Their local University Extension Office, Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence, and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture just to name a few local government funded examples. There are many national resources available. All free, all research based, all available. Sometimes, outbreaks happen, that is true. This simple statement is the reason for the testing and regulations that are currently in place, but without pastuerization, we cannot guarantee a product’s safety.

Leave a Comment

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.

eNewsletter

Get our Top Stories in Your Inbox

Recent News