The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is warning raw milk consumers in Oneida County and surrounding areas of a possible dangerous outbreak of Listeria.

New York Ag and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball issued the warning Tuesday to individuals who purchased raw milk from Garrie A. Smith dbd Big Brook Farm in Lee Center to not drink it and dump it immediately. The farm is located on Weaver Road in Lee Center.

Authorities with the Department of Ag and Markets state that to this point here have been no illnesses reported, but the threat is still real. The discovery was made when a routine sample of milk was collected by an inspector and tested. The farm was notified on March 13th, 2024 that the preliminary test was positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Further lab testing confirmed on March 18th the initial results. That producer is now prohibited from selling raw milk until the problem is resolved.

What is Listeria? It is a serious bacteria that can cause serious illness or even death, in the most severe cases. More serious cases will likely impact children, the elderly and those with a weakened immune system. Symptoms of Listeria include fever, nausea, vomiting and a stiff neck. The Department of Ag and Markets also took this opportunity to educate people on the differences between raw and pasteurized milk stating,

It is important to note that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization. Pasteurization is a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time. Pasteurization kills the bacteria responsible for numerous illnesses and diseases such as listeriosis, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and brucellosis. Pasteurization of milk is recognized internationally as an effective means of preventing outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, including listeriosis.

It is the recommendation of the NYS Department of Ag and Markets if you believe you purchased raw milk from Big Brook Farm that you dump it and call them at 315-266-7254.

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