Sale of Meadow Gold milk put to halt

HONOLULU — The state has ordered Hawaii’s only dairy company to put a halt on the sale and distribution of some of its milk.

The Department of Health issued a Cease and Desist Order to Meadow Gold Dairies today after laboratory results from routine milk samples exceeded standard limits for coliform bacteria.

“Milk production is regulated with routine testing both at the farm and after packaging to ensure a safe product,” said Peter Oshiro, program manager of the DOH Sanitation Branch. “Department of Health inspectors will work with Meadow Gold Dairies to investigate the possible source of contamination, approve a plan of correction, and conduct further testing to confirm the company meets the standards to resume two-percent reduced fat milk distribution and sale.”

Samples of 2 percent reduced fat milk taken from Meadow Gold Dairies on Jan. 19, Feb. 6 and 22 revealed excessive coliform counts of more than 150/ml, 130/ml and more than 150/ml. The maximum allowed coliform limit for pasteurized milk is 10/ml. Coliform is used an indicator of post-pasteurization contamination.

DOH conducts monthly testing of samples of all Grade A raw and pasteurized milk produced at dairy farms and milk plants in Hawaii.

State and federal regulations require that samples be taken a minimum of four out of every six months, though most jurisdictions in the nation, like Hawaii, conduct sampling every month. DOH may also accelerate routine sampling of a specific product whenever product samples do not meet required standards.

Hawaii Administrative Rules Title 11 Chapter 15 states that the DOH may suspend the distribution and sale of a particular milk product produced by a milk plant, whenever the product is in violation three times out of the last five consecutive samples for the first three Critical Control standards.

To resume distribution and sale of 2 percent reduced fat milk, Meadow Gold Dairies must pass health inspections and undergo additional testing of product samples. All other milk products from Meadow Gold Dairies meet state and federal standards required for distribution and sale.

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