WSDA warns about contaminated raw milk from Shaw Island

Source of Article:  http://www.sanjuanislander.com/state/wsda/raw-milk-shaw.shtml

posted 08/12/2008
Consumers who have purchased raw milk from Our Lady of the Rock Dairy on Shaw Island, San Juan County, in early August should discard it immediately due to the risk of Listeria contamination, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).

A routine sample of the unpasteurized milk from the dairy was taken Aug. 4 and found to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The dairy operation was notified of the laboratory test results Monday, August 11.

There is no pull date on the retail products and the dairy's distribution is limited to the local area.

During sampling last April at Our Lady of the Rock Dairy, WSDA lab staff also found raw milk contaminated with Listeria.

WSDA staff will visit the dairy to review its milking and bottling processes, check the site for issues that could lead to possible product contamination and conduct environmental testing.

As of today, no illnesses have been reported as a result of the contamination. People who have consumed the raw milk and become ill should consult their physician or their local health department.

Symptoms of Listeriosis may include fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea or diarrhea. If 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. Symptoms of Listeriosis can appear in four days to three weeks.

Unpasteurized milk from a licensed dairy is a legal product in Washington, but bottled raw milk must include a warning label that informs the consumer of the health risks associated with its consumption. More information about raw milk can be found at www.agr.wa.gov/foodanimal/dairy.

The San Juan County Health Department and Washington State Department of Health have been alerted to the problem. Consumers with concerns may call the WSDA Food Safety Hotline at 1-800-843-7890.

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