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Public health warning issued for cheese from Tompkins County due to listeria risk

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The New York State Department of Agriculture has issued a public health warning against the consumption of Connecticut Hill Melter raw milk cheese from Remembrance Farm in Tompkins County, due to a possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The farm is located in Trumansburg, on Searsburg Road. To date, there have been no reported illnesses related to the consumption of this product. The affected cheese has been distributed to members of Full Plate Farm Collective Community Supported Agriculture in Ithaca.

The potentially contaminated product is sold in approximately 0.5-pound wedges, wrapped in cheese wax paper, and is identifiable with the name Connecticut Hill Melter and a batch number of 042323. The department advises against the consumption of all packages with this batch number and urges consumers who have purchased the cheese to dispose of it immediately and contact Remembrance Farm at 310-804-7240. Listeriosis, caused by Listeria monocytogenes, can lead to serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems and can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.

The alert underscores the dangers of consuming raw milk products, which lack the bacterial protections provided by pasteurization, a process recognized internationally as an effective means of preventing foodborne illnesses. Pasteurization heats milk to a specific temperature for a set period, eliminating bacteria responsible for several illnesses and diseases, including listeriosis, salmonellosis, and typhoid fever. The positive test result for contamination was confirmed after laboratory testing on September 19, following a preliminary positive indication on September 15.