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Marva Maid Dairy extends Virginia withdrawal of spoiled school milk cartons

By Mark Astley+

10-Jun-2014
Last updated on 10-Jun-2014 at 12:58 GMT

Virginia dairy Marva Maid has extended an earlier withdrawal of school milk in the state following a health authority review that found "elevated levels of bacteria" consistent with premature spoilage.

As "an additional measure of safety" Marva Maid Dairy has expanded its withdrawal to include all half-pint paperboard cartons of Marva Maid brand milk feature a sell-by date of between May 30 and June 10 2014.

Its initial action involved the removal of half-pint cartons stamped with a sell-by date of between May 30 and June 2 from schools.

DairyReporter.com approached Marva Maid Dairy yesterday to confirm the size of the product withdrawal, but it failed to respond prior to publication.

Marva Maid began pulling the products, which are "only sold for institutional use", in late May following the launch of an investigation by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) into complaints from Henrico County School District in Richmond "regarding milk with an off taste and odor" and reports that "several people" had been left "feeling sick" after drinking Marva Maid brand milk.

Near identical complaints have since been received from schools in nearby Prince William County.

"Elevated levels of bacteria"

Tests on milk supplied to schools in Henrico County and Prince William County found "elevated levels of bacteria consistent with milk that spoiled prematurely," said VDH.

VDH conducted quality assurance testing and a review of processes and procedures at Marva Maid's Newport News, Virginia plant.

"The state laboratory has confirmed that the milk showed evidence of spoilage and did not contain more harmful bacteria. VDH is working with Marva Maid to investigate the cause of the problem and identify changes that need to be made to correct the spoilage issue."

Despite the spoilage issue, the review found Marva Maid milk to be "in compliance with state regulatory standards."

"We have been actively working and cooperating with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to investigate customer complaints concerning half-pint paperboard packages of Marva Maid brand milk with code dates of May 30 to June 10," said Marva Maid in a statement.

"Our investigation determined that there was a temporary issue with premature spoilage associated with that specific product, and we acted immediately to correct it. All of the current complaints related to spoilage can be traced back to this temporary issue, which has now been resolved," the company added.

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