Michigan issues warning not to eat raw milk products produced illegally by unlicensed farm

Consumers are warned to not eat raw milk products made by Shetler Family Farm, such as this butter.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issued a warning Thursday against consuming raw milk products from an unlicensed farm.

According to officials, raw butter from the Shetler Family Farm in Morely was found during a convenience store inspection in Clare. Producing and selling raw milk is against Michigan law because it can contain dangerous bacteria, such as Brucella, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.

Also, the farm was making products in an unlicensed facility that has not been inspected. The Manufacturing Milk Law requires dairy processing facilities to be licensed, make products from pasteurized milk and dairy products, and properly label products.

One-pound clear plastic containers of butter labeled as "NON-GMO SWEET CREAM BUTTER w/Himalayan salt" were for sale at a Clare store. The 75 pounds of butter was placed under seizure and voluntarily thrown away by the retailer. 

Officials said it is unknown if the farm has made other products or if the products are for sale at other stores.

If you have purchased any of the raw milk products, throw them away or return them to the place of purchase. If you have consumed any of these products and feel ill, seek medical attention immediately.

Stores that have the products for sale should remove them from sale, hold them in a safe place away from sales areas, and contact their MDARD food inspector.

"Our food and dairy inspectors are committed to making sure the food we feed our families is made in a safe way and is free of foodborne pathogens, but it requires a partnership with those we regulate to make that happen," said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. "Under the Michigan Food Law, MDARD is charged with licensing and inspecting food manufacturing facilities and retail food establishments to protect public health and assure a safe and wholesome food supply. Foods offered for sale must be made in licensed and inspected facilities, which this farm was not." 

If the farm wishes to become licensed, MDARD said it would work with the farm's owner to do so.