Listeria found in sample from Pennings Sisters Dairy

Warwick. A routine sampling of unpasteurized, raw milk from Pennings Sisters Dairy came back positive for Listeria monocytogenes, the state Agriculture and Markets department said.

22 Jan 2020 | 06:14

Fans of raw milk might want to put the glass down, at least temporarily.

A routine sampling of unpasteurized, raw milk from Pennings Sisters Dairy came back positive for Listeria monocytogenes, the state Department of Agriculture and Markets said earlier this week.

According to the department, the bacteria causes listeriosis, which can be a serious and sometimes fatal infection in young children, cancer patients, elderly people and others with weakened immune systems.

Although otherwise healthy people may only suffer short-term, flu-like symptoms, listeriosis can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.

To date, no illnesses associated with the product have been reported to the department.

The dairy was notified of a preliminary positive test result on Jan. 15, with further laboratory testing confirming the bacteria’s presence in the sample on Jan. 21, the department said.

Owned by Jack and Monica Pennings, the dairy is now prohibited from selling raw milk until resampling indicates that the product is free of harmful bacteria.

The department recommends that any consumers who purchased raw milk from Pennings Sisters Dairy immediately dispose of it and call them at (845) 742-2011.

Efforts to reach Jack or Monica Pennings for comment were unsuccessful as of press time.

According to the department, raw milk does not provide the benefits of pasteurization. Pasteurization is a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time, which kills the bacteria responsible for numerous illnesses and diseases such as listeriosis, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria and brucellosis.

The process is recognized internationally as an effective means of preventing outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, the department said.

Pennings Sisters Dairy is located at Pennings Orchard at 169 State Route 94 in Warwick.