The attorney representing a Pennsylvania dairy says a “lab error” by the state Department of Agriculture resulted in a sample of skim milk testing positive for bacteria which led the dairy to temporarily cease production.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the lab test inaccurately detected Yersinia enterocolitica in the sample of skim milk and has forced Brunton Dairy, in Independence, Pa., to halt production since Oct. 28.

Lawsuits filed against Brunton Dairy blame it for several bacteria-related illnesses last summer. State and county officials tested the dairy’s products and facilities and the dairy first ceased production from July 29 to Oct. 1.

On Aug. 24, an Allegheny County Department of Health test found ice cream from the dairy to contain Yersinia enterocolitica, however a Sept. 30 state Department of Agriculture test on the same ice cream sample was negative.

Two lawsuits claim the plaintiffs were infected with the bacteria Yersinia and the sources of the bacteria were from items produced and purchased at Brunton Dairy. One plaintiff claims to have suffered septic shock and respiratory failure and was placed on a ventilator for about two weeks after eating ice cream from the dairy in July. The second plaintiff allegedly suffered kidney failure after drinking Yersinia enterocolitica-tainted milk in June and July.

The state cleared the dairy in late December and will allow milk and ice cream production to resume once a final inspection is complete.

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Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review