HAWTHORNE VALLEY—A press release from the Hawthorne Valley Farm Friday, May 13 says that on Tuesday, May 3 a sample of raw milk was taken from the farm’s creamery’s bulk tank by state Department of Agriculture and Markets. “On Thursday, May 5, this sample came back as presumptive positive for listeria monocytogenes, a harmful bacteria that can cause listeriosis,” according to the release.
The release goes on to say, “This positive result was confirmed on Thursday, May 12. All raw milk has been pulled off the shelf and any that was purchased since May 2 must be discarded. The milk will be retested by the state until it is confirmed that is safe again to consume.
“Listeria monocytogenes is a species of bacteria that can cause the infection Listeriosis and we are taking this situation very seriously. While no illnesses have been reported, we are working closely with the state to determine the source of the pathogen and are taking the following precautionary measures:
•Upon hearing of the confirmed positive test result, we immediately pulled all milk from our cooler. We will not provide milk for sale until we have an all-clear from NY Ag & Markets.” The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, frequently referred to as “Ag & Markets,” is the state agency that regulates farming statewide.
Hawthorne also said, “We are diligently working to identify the source of the contamination by testing the cows and test swabbing potentially affected areas
•Product testing is a regular practice at Hawthorne Valley Farm’s creamery. We continue to perform additional testing to ensure safety prior to production and sales
•All equipment and facilities have been inspected, test swabbed, and thoroughly cleaned.
•We have notified all customers on our email list of the situation as well as the local media. We have turned over to Ag & Markets our list of known customers for the time period during which contaminated milk may have been sold.”
Addressing consumers, the release said, “If you purchased raw milk from our Farm Store between the dates of May 2 and May 12, please discard any unused portions immediately. You may contact the Farm Store for a full refund.
“We are addressing this situation aggressively to learn where this risk may have come from and to adjust protocols accordingly to enhance our farming practices and food safety program. We will keep you posted as this situation develops and hope to have our high quality raw milk available for sale again soon.”
Hawthorne Valley Farm, which operates a farm store and a school at the site, said that its cheese and other products are still approved for sale by Ag & Markets.
The Hawthorne Valley is a nonprofit entity. One of its initiatives is the Biodynamic farm and farmer training; another is the farm store. According to the farm website, it has about 65 cows that produce an average 1,000 pounds of milk a day.