I know it's been a little quite over here but we have been working hard and are getting back in the swing of things. As of today we've had 2 out of 2 clean milk samples and waiting on results from the third. (should know tomorrow) I plan on being more active here again but for now just wanted to share an e-mail I sent out to our regular milk customers a couple weeks ago:
Just wanted to give everyone an update. We did some testing last week and all samples came back clean of listeria. On top of the regular testing we tested each cow individually to make sure none of them were the problem. All of them tested great. We will be running tests for the next 3 weeks to insure that there is not an ongoing problem. But I am confident that we have it under control and that this will not be a problem going forward. We have been going over everything with from cow health, to milking procedures to ensure this doesn't happen again.
Some of you have asked how serious this was so I thought it would be good to share some info from the CDC. No one has gotten sick from listeria in raw milk since before 1971 ( i'm not sure what data is available from before that time) so in the last almost 50 years it has not been a problem. It seems that the good bacteria in raw milk keeps this one in check. The other factor is that there would need to be high amounts of listeria in the milk in order to get some one sick. Considering how clean our milking process is, it is highly unlikely that there was more than a minute amount actually in the milk. Unfortunately, (even though the state took 8 days to fully run the tests) the state test results only indicate that listeria was present. But no indication of the actual amount was given to me.
Pete Kennedy from Farm to Consumer Defense Fund addressed this a few years ago. The full article is here
"Within the past year, (2007) eleven dairies selling raw milk (six in New York, five in Pennsylvania) and one dairy in California selling raw cream had their sales suspended by the state for positive tests for Listeria monocytogenes (L-mono). In none of the twelve cases did anyone become sick, but in each case a press release was issued informing the public that the dairy’s milk (or cream) had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes and that those who had purchased the milk (or cream) should throw it away. The press releases typically warned that L-mono can cause “a serious and sometimes fatal disease called Listeriosis in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems” (FDA News, September 21, 2007—see Press Releases at www.fda.gov). Yet records from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), released in May 2007 in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), disclosed not one case of illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes in raw milk or cream between 1971 and 2005. FDA’s own documents reflect the same findings."
I am sorry to have to be talking about this but I want to be fully honest and transparent to all of our customers. I certainly take this seriously and I've been going over everything to make sure we are producing a quality product 100% of the time. One thing I will be doing going forward is posting all of our test results online so that everyone can see how we are doing. I am also looking into joining the Raw Milk Institute, founded by Mark Mcafee of Organic Pastures in California. RMI has a wealth of information from long time experienced raw milk producers and they work with producers around the country to implement the best procedures and to identify potential week points in the production model.
So all that being said, I am extremely grateful to everyone who has not only been very supportive, but also very eager to start getting milk again. I am pleased to say that we are open for business to all of our members. If you would like to start getting milk again then let me know if you want it on your regular pickup day or if you want it sooner. If you have any questions, please let me know and I will be glad to talk to you.