• "Quality issue" was discovered after testing conducted by Ohio Department of Agriculture
  • Pasteurization can help keep food safe without affecting its nutritional value
  • Consumers who may have purchased the affected product may get a full refund

A company is recalling its chocolate milk product after a laboratory analysis found that it was "not effectively pasteurized." 

Pasteurization refers to an important process that kills potentially harmful bacteria in food.

Ohio-based Green Field Farms Dairy is voluntarily pulling 1,242 units of its Whole Chocolate Milk that were distributed in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware and Washington, D.C. from Sept. 7 to 16, the company announcement posted on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) website noted.

According to the agency, the "quality issue" was discovered after the Ohio Department of Agriculture conducted routine testing.

During pasteurization, a food product is heated up to a specific temperature for a set amount of time to kill certain bacteria that are responsible for illnesses such as listeriosis, brucellosis and typhoid fever. It is an important part of the process because some bacteria that are naturally present in some food items can actually make people very sick. Pasteurization can kill these potentially harmful bacteria without affecting the nutrients in the food.

From 1993 to 2012, for instance, there were 127 outbreaks that were linked to raw milk (unpasteurized milk) and the products that were made from it. In the case of the current recall, the company has not received any reports of illnesses related to the affected chocolate milk products. However, it is urging anyone who develops symptoms of a foodborne illness after consuming an affected product to immediately contact a healthcare provider.

Symptoms of a food-borne illness may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting and flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches and a headache. The Green Field Farms Whole Chocolate Milk units affected by the recall have a code date of 9/29/21.

"This quality issue is isolated to Whole Chocolate Milk with an expiration date of September 29, 2021," the company noted. "If you have purchased this product, please return to the place of purchase to receive a refund."

Those with questions about the recall may contact 330-263-0248.

Apart from milk, products like eggs, cheese, juice, yogurt, butter, honey and wine are also commonly pasteurized. To reduce one's chances of developing a food-borne illness, one of the simplest solutions is to opt for pasteurized products.

Chocolate smoothie/Chocolate milk Representation. Photo: Steve Buissinne/Pixabay