Consumer Alert: Dairy products company suspended due to discovery of Staphylococcus

Consumer Alert: Dairy products company suspended due to discovery of Staphylococcus

The sale of dairy products made by the Armfood Company has been suspended on order of the State Food Security Service, after a customer alert led to the discovery of Staphylococcus and other harmful bacteria in goat milk.

At a press conference Friday Babken Pipoyan, press secretary for the Service (a division of the Ministry of Agriculture), said that there have been no reported illnesses, after one customer reported a bitter taste in the milk, that led to the suspension.

Pipoyan also said that currently other products (natural yogurt, curd, and sour cream) belonging to the company are being examined, and it will be clear Saturday whether they contain bacteria.

(Staphylococcus produces toxins which can pass to the digestive system and cause food poisoning, a condition that usually causes vomiting and/or diarrhea and leads to dehydration. Such illness is dangerous mainly for children and the elderly.)

Pipoyan said that the company’s production will be resumed after Armfood pays a fine of 300,000 drams (about $800), and after tests have been completed to find if other products are at risk.

Staphylococcus was found in pasteurized milk, which according to Pipoyan, is unusual.

Last year a case of intestinal intoxication caused by food (cake) was registered in Vanadzor, Lori province; 28 people, including children were taken to hospital. In 2009, because of the world economic crisis in Armenia, the Government made a decision not to hold a monitoring in enterprises which have less than 70 million drams ($190,000) money turnover. However, if cases of consumers’ intoxication are registered, or if there is an alarm, the State Food Security Service is entitled not only to run a check of products, but also to suspend the production and even administer punishment. Once a year, the State Food Security Service holds planned monitoring in all enterprises that are under its control.