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Meadow Gold Dairies ordered to stop selling 2% milk


    Jugs of milk are filled at the Meadow Gold processing plant in Hilo.

The State Department of Health ordered Meadow Gold Dairies to stop selling its 2-percent reduced fat milk because of signs of potential contamination.

The state issued a Cease and Desist Order to the company today after laboratory results from milk samples exceeded limits for coliform bacteria — an indicator of contamination post-pasteurization.

The DOH tests of the 2-percent reduced fat milk on Jan. 19, Feb. 6 and 22 showed coliform counts of nearly 15 times the maximum allowed.

The tests revealed 150 coliforms per milliliter, 130 per milliliter and more than 150 per milliliter respectively. The maximum allowed coliform limit for pasteurized milk is 10 coliforms per milliliter.

Meadow Gold Dairies can resume distribution and selling of 2-percent reduced fat milk if it passes health inspections and undergoes additional testing, the Department of Health said. “All other milk products from Meadow Gold Dairies meet state and federal standards required for distribution and sale,” the agency said.

Jamaison Schuler, spokesman for Dean Foods, the Dallas-based owner of Meadow Gold, said internal testing did not reveal quality or safety concerns but the company is “taking this situation very seriously.”

“We test our products regularly before, during and after processing to ensure quality, and it’s important to understand that product being sold in stores is not affected,” Schuler said in a statement. “We have not received any consumer complaints.”

Schuler said the coliform found in milk is safe to drink but could cause the milk to spoil faster than usual.

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