EXTENSIVE testing by the Schulz Organic Farms dairy at Timboon has failed to find any further evidence of the listeria contamination discovered in a milk batch earlier this month.
The boutique dairy’s owner Simon Schulz said yesterday that all milk produced at the factory since the contamination more than two weeks ago had been tested and none had returned a positive result to listeria.
The positive result led the factory to recall about 1100 units of its one and two-litre full cream organic milk that had a use by date of August 22.
Listeria often causes no problems in healthy people but can be serious enough to require hospitalisation, particularly in those with compromised health.
The listeria contamination was the factory’s first in its seven years of operation.
Mr Schulz said second and third retests of the batch that returned a positive listeria result had found no evidence of the bacteria, opening the possibility the original result might have been a “false positive”.
However, the factory had since conducted more than 50 product and environmental tests over 18 days — all of which came back negative — to ensure its products were not contaminated.
It had also installed a new milk crate washing machine to combat any possibility the bacteria came in with returned milk crates.
Mr Schulz said the factory was also halfway through a clearance program conducted by Dairy Food Safety Victoria and Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
That clearance program required the testing of four days of manufacture over a 12-day period and product was not being released until a negative test result was returned.
This had reduced the use-by date on products by between one to two days.
Mr Schulz said the organic dairy factory had stopped supplying retail outlets such as independent grocers and delicatessens following the positive result because he did not want his milk products sitting on shelves if there was any risk of further contamination.
However, supply to those outlets will resume this Friday.
The reduction in supply had cut sales by about 30 per cent in the past two weeks but Mr Schulz said he was confident they would return to normal.