In Cayuga County of New York, Serenity Meadows Dairy’s unpasteurized “raw” milk has tested positive for traces of Listeria. The traces of Listeria were found by the Department of Agriculture and Markets during regulatory testing. Sales of the raw milk by Serenity Meadows Dairy is temporarily stopped until the raw milk does not test positive for Listeria or other harmful bacteria. As of May 19, 2020, the raw milk is still testing positive for traces of Listeria. No illnesses have been reported as of date due to Serenity Meadows Dairy, and it is unknown how long the raw milk has been contaminated. Customers who have recently purchased raw milk from Serenity Meadows are advised not to consume the product and pay attention to any signs of Listeria infection for weeks after consumption of the contaminated raw milk. Symptoms of a Listeria infection typically present within 1-4 weeks of consumption, though symptoms can begin as early as one day and as late as 70 days after consumption.
According to the CDC, listeriosis is the infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, a foodborne illness bacteria that can be deadly for those who are immunocompromised, such as the elderly, children, those with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women. In pregnant women, listeriosis typically presents as flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, headache, and muscle aches. Listeriosis in pregnant women may result in a severe infection in the fetus, and even loss of the fetus. In those not pregnant, symptoms of listeriosis include typical food poisoning symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and muscle aches. While listeriosis may resolve without treatment, those who are immunocompromised are at risk for a nervous system infection, which may result in symptoms such as dizziness, loss of balance, confusion, seizures, and a stiff neck. If you believe you have been contaminated with Listeria, contact your physician to decide if antibiotics are a necessary treatment for you.
According to New York law, the sale of unpasteurized milk is prohibited unless the milk is directly sold on the farm to consumer. Farms are permitted to sell raw milk directly to consumers if they have a Raw Milk Sales Part 2 permit, which requires farmers to conduct numerous tests, such as testing for foodborne illness causing bacteria like Salmonella, E. Coli, and Listeria. Raw milk has been on the rise as of late, praised as being a milk alternative that will boost immune systems and help fight allergies and asthma. These claims have yet to be proven, though it has been proven that by not pasteurizing milk, deadly bacteria such as Listeria and Salmonella thrive when not exposed to the high heat pasteurization process that takes place for typical milk.