Press Releases

Berkeley Farms recalls antibiotic-tainted milk

The Associated Press
Saturday June 15, 2002

People allergic to antibiotics are at risk  


HAYWARD — Berkeley Farms issued a voluntary recall of some of its milk products Friday after a routine sampling detected antibiotics in the milk. 

Inspectors for the California Department of Food and Agriculture discovered significant quantities of penicillin in milk from the Berkeley Farms plants in Hayward and San Leandro. 

No illnesses had been reported Friday, but individuals who are allergic to antibiotics could have a reaction if they consume the tainted milk. 

“There are really two questions: How did it get in the milk, and why did it get past the testing process?” said Berkeley Farms spokesman David Margulies. 

Jay Van Rein, a spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said Friday that the department did not yet have answers to those questions. Van Rein said he did not know how much penicillin had tainted the milk, but said it was probably a significant amount. 

The following brands of milk with the plant codes 06-407 and 06-21 are included in the recall: Berkeley Farms, Dairy Dawn, Ralph’s, Mountain Dairy, Sysco (Wholesome Farms), Smart and Final, Albertson’s, Good Day, and Best Yet. 

The California Department of Food and Agriculture does random, unannounced testing of milk plants at least 10 times a year. Every milk load, however, is supposed to be tested by the company before it enters the plants. 

It is not unusual to find antibiotics at dairies, because most farmers treat their cows with antibiotics as part of their health maintenance program, Margulies said. 

Almost all the contaminated milk had been pulled from grocery store shelves by Friday afternoon, Margulies said. 

Consumers are advised to throw away any product named in the recall, or return it to the store for a refund.