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BROOKINGS COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA (KSFY/CNN) - This week, raw milk from a South Dakota dairy farm tested positive for Listeria.
The bacteria can cause flu-like symptoms in relatively healthy people.
But it can be serious for people with weakened immune systems.
Now, the dairy producer of that farm is speaking out.
The Jerseydale Farm has been passed down from generation to generation of the Gilkerson family. Producing raw milk is just one facet of their farm operation.
This past year, the South Dakota department of agriculture passed several new regulations for raw milk producers. This includes testing for certain pathogens such as Listeria.
"When this first came out, I figured this is going to be a problem because some of these organisms are pretty common and they're everywhere. And the fact that I'd get a positive test, I was hoping I wouldn't, but it wasn't much of a surprise," Trever Gilkerson, of Jerseydale Farm said.
Gilkerson's permit to sell raw milk has since been revoked. He can be tested again. If it's negative, he can resume production.
"These rules are essentially going to make it impossible for raw milk to be legally sold because I don't think it's a standard that's attainable," Gilkerson said.
Gilkerson says he doesn't think it is fair the positive test his raw milk received equates to a risk of illness.
"There's actually a number of different species of Listeria and only one of those species has been known to cause illness and to my knowledge, I don't think that their test will get specific enough to this species that are actually going to make you sick," he said.
Now that Gilkerson is barred from selling his raw milk, his loyal customers are savoring the last bit of raw milk they have left.
"We have just a little left, so we're still drinking it," Virgina Sprang, a mother of four, said.
Sprang made the switch to raw milk when one of her daughters seemed to have an intolerance for store bought milk. Raw milk did the trick. Sprang says trust in your raw milk producer is huge.
"We knew how he did things. We knew how meticulous he was, and so it just came as a surprise. But I did a little more research into that and it became clear pretty quickly that this was really something that was blown out of proportion and not an issue at all," Sprang said.
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