State officials are warning the public against consuming unpasteurized milk from a New York dairy because sample test results show it to be contaminated with Listeria.

Anyone who has any raw milk from Serenity Meadows Dairy in Cayuga County is urged to throw it away. Anyone who has consumed raw milk from the dairy recently should monitor themselves in the coming weeks for symptoms of Listeria infection, which can take up to 70 days to develop.

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets had samples of raw milk from Serenity Meadows tested, according to information released by the department. Two samples, including one taken Monday, returned positive results for Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially deadly foodborne pathogen.

The dairy operator, Doren Martin, was ordered to halt sales until samples show it is free of bacteria and other pathogens. As of Tuesday no illnesses had been confirmed in relation to the implicated milk.

Federal law prohibits the interstate sale of raw milk, but some states have laws allowing sales in limited settings and at retail. In New York, unpasteurized, raw milk can only be sold from the dairy directly to the consumer who will be using it. Dairies selling raw milk are required to meet several testing requirements, including for brucella, Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria and others. 

About Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has consumed any of the implicated milk and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop.

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

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