Local News

Farm Hit Hard By Milk Recall

Posted August 11, 2006

— Maple View Farm is pulling a week's supply of milk off the market and dumping it. More than 7,000 gallons -- $30,000 worth -- of milk is going down the drain after cows at the farm ate corn that was tainted with a potentially harmful toxin.

Farm owner Bob Nutter isn't crying over the recall.

"It's a part of life, part of farming," he said. "You get used to the ups and downs. I've been here too long to have it have an effect on me."

But the longtime farmer admitted that he's worried about what will happen to his small milk production company.

Maple View Farm bought the corn from an Orange County farmer to feed to its dairy cows this week. Nutter said the corn was tainted with toxic mold that can make people sick in high concentrations.

"We believe in local (farms), and I'm sure the man that sold it to us didn't have any idea that it had aflatoxin in it," he said.

Maple View didn't test the corn, and a microscopic amount of aflatoxin showed up in weekly milk tests -- just enough to be higher than strict federal guidelines. The farm got rid of the tainted corn, and now workers are dumping everything.

The farm has 140 cows that are milked three times a day. Each milking produces 350 gallons.

"It'll affect us for the year," said Nutter.

It could get even worse if people are afraid to buy Maple View milk after the recall.

"If they see the milk in the glass bottle and they think, 'That's the milk that's bad; don't buy it,' that will be the end of us," said Nutter.

Nutter said Maple View Farm is doing everything it can to make things right. The state Agriculture Department agreed.

In the end, Nutter said the company can survive this, as long as customers keep buying.

"If customers come back, it'll be a blow but it won't be detrimental," he said,

The aflatoxin should work its way out of the cows this weekend. State agricultural officials will be at the farm to test the milk on Saturday. Maple View hopes to have fresh milk in stores as early as Tuesday.

The recalled products are whole, skim, low-fat and chocolate milk and heavy whipping cream with a sell-by stamp of Aug. 25. Also included was buttermilk with a sell-by date of Sept. 5. The products were sold in Chatham, Durham, Lee, Orange and Wake counties.

The milk was sold at stores like Harris Teeter, Kroger, Lowes and local markets. Grocery stores pulled the recalled milk off the shelves. Customers who have any of these products can return them to the stores.


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