Deadly Listeriosis Outbreak Traced to Central Mass. Dairy

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Deadly Listeriosis Outbreak Traced to Central Mass. Dairy

SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- Listeria-tainted milk from the Whittier Farms dairy here is believed to be the source of a listeriosis outbreak in that state that has resulted in the deaths of two elderly men and the illness of two other people, including a pregnant woman who miscarried, according to published reports. The dairy has halted production and informed its customers of the incidents.

A note on Whittier Farms' Web site said that the dairy is "fully cooperating with [the] investigation [by the state department of public health] and will continue to do so." Most of the dairy's distribution is home delivery to customers in the greater Worcester/Shrewsbury, Mass. area.

Authorities believe the milk was contaminated after pasteurization, perhaps during processing. The milk is marketed under the Whittier, Schultz, Balance Rock, Spring Brook, and Maple brands.

DNA fingerprinting undertaken by the State Laboratory Institute showed that the bacteria causing the infections came from a common source. Samples collected showed product contamination.