Warning Issued For Whittier Farms Milk Products

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Department of Public Health (DPH) is issuing a warning to consumers notto drink any milk products from Whittier Farms in Shrewsbury because oflisteria bacteria contamination.

Four cases of listeriosis infection have been identified by DPH. Thecases occurred in June, October and two in November. DNA fingerprintingconducted by the State Laboratory Institute showed that the bacteriacausing these infections came from a common source. Samples collectedshowed product contamination.

Whittier Farms has agreed to voluntarily suspend operations anddistribution at this time until a source of contamination isidentified. The firm is contacting all customers. The bulk of theirdistribution is home delivery to customers in the greaterWorcester/Shrewsbury area. Brand names produced at Whittier Dairyinclude Whittier, Schultz, Balance Rock, Spring Brook, Maple, and ModelDairy.

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Listeriosis is a serious foodborne disease that can be life-threateningto certain individuals. While most cases of listeriosis occur in adultswith weakened immune systems, the elderly, pregnant women and newborns,infections can occasionally occur in healthy individuals.

The four cases involved three elderly residents and a pregnant woman from Worcester county. Two of the cases have died.

"Although evidence suggests that contamination is likely to be at a lowlevel and the risk of infection low, even in those at high risk, it isrecommended that consumers do not consume these products and discardany of these products they have," said DPH Director of CommunicableDisease Control Dr. Al DeMaria.

Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches and sometimesgastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. The illness maybe mild and symptoms are sometimes described as flu-like.

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