The issue of contaminated raw milk has once again come under the spotlight. This time the producer at the centre of the controversy is Jerseydale Farms in the United States state of South Dakota.
Bottled raw milk from Jerseydale Farms near Brookings has tested positive for Listeria according to an announcement from the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. Anyone who purchased raw milk in the area has been warned to discard the product immediately.
Agriculture is South Dakota’s No. 1 industry, generating more than $21 billion in annual economic activity and employing more than 122,000 people, with an industry this big sometimes food handling and food safety can slip through the cracks.
The state has quite strict laws governing the sale of raw milk but it is one of the dairy products that is particularly susceptible to Listeria contaminations. Raw milk is milk that is unpasteurized and sometimes this milk can cause fatal infections because of the presence of bacteria which are not killed off by the pasteurization process.
Read what happened from this excerpt taken from FoodSafetyNews.com.au
State rules for bottled raw milk in South Dakota require permits for dairies selling raw milk directly to consumers. Inspections are required at least annually depending on the grade of milk, and dairies must also submit samples monthly for bacteria and residue testing.
The unpasteurized bottled milk purchased in recent days from Jerseydale Farms may contain the potentially deadly Listeria bacteria.
Raw/ unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, which are responsible for causing numerous foodborne illnesses.
Because pasteurization heats milk and kills the germs, unpasteurized milk can be dangerous. Although some people believe unpasteurized milk is simply healthier that unpasteurized milk, studies have proven that the beneficial nutrients in milk are not affected by the pasteurization process.
Cows and other types of dairy animals can carry many varieties of bacteria that can cause illness in the people that consume them and because these animals do not demonstrate symptoms of being sick, we are unaware that they are infected and carry bacteria. This bacterium can be carried in the milk of the animal and pasteurization is the only process that can ensure these bacteria are killed before they can cause harm to humans.
If you are pregnant or elderly (or are providing milk to sick people or young children) it is best to avoid raw milk if there are any concerns.
This excerpt goes on to explain more about Listeria contaminations:
Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, especially in young children, the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems, the department said. Listeria infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
Symptoms of listeriosis, the illness caused by the ingestion of Listeria, include fever, muscle aches and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions can occur.