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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.

Newsletters - Winter 2008 Issue

Dairy kills 

Most vegetarians and vegans are aware that dairy products contribute to many chronic life-threatening diseases including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some types of cancer. Few consider that dairy products can kill outright. Recently, a listeria outbreak traced to Whittier Farms in nearby Shrewsbury, MA, resulted in the deaths of three elderly men and a miscarried pregnancy by a woman in her thirties. Several other individuals were sickened, but recovered. The first fatality occurred last June, and the final fatality, occurred January 3 of this year. Only after that fatality were the cases finally linked to their common source.

State officials closed the plant upon tracing the deadly bacteria to Whittier Farms. After studying over 100 samples, state health inspectors said they were unable determine the precise source of contamination. The deadly bacteria was found in seven bottles and on the floor near the homogenizer at the Shrewsbury plant. Different listeria strains were found inside four other bottles of milk and at three different areas inside the plant.

“The final results of the tests from the state–instead of narrowing it down–the area kept getting bigger. It made it extremely hard for us, because we still don’t have answers,” said Wayne Whittier, one of the dairy owners. Whittier milk was sold under the names Whittier, Schultz, Balance Rock, Spring Brook, and Maple.

Citing the expense involved in assuring the plant would be free of infection, the Whittier's decided to permanently close the bottling plant where the listeria outbreak was found.

Despite the lack of “answers” regarding the exact source and extent of the outbreak, Whittier continues to operate a dairy in Sutton, MA, which now ships its milk to other processors. The Whittier retail operation in Shrewsbury continues to sell dairy products processed and bottled by other processors.

Listeria is exceedingly dangerous to the elderly, pregnant women, infants, and individuals with weakened immune systems. Healthy adults who contract listeriosis suffer from flu-like symptoms but typically recover quickly.

(This story based on wire service reports)  

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