MI Dept of Agriculture

For immediate release: April 22, 2021
Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724

Consumer Advisory: Do Not Eat Raw Milk Butter Products Produced by Shetler Family Farm/John Shetler

Any food retailers with product should remove products from sale

LANSING, MI — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) today is advising consumers not to eat any raw milk products produced at a dairy farm owned by John Shetler, in Morley, Michigan. The production and sale of raw milk and raw milk products is a violation of the Manufacturing Milk Law, MCL 288.696(1), Grade A Dairy Law, MCL 288.538(1), and Food Law, MCL 289.6140(1). Additionally, the products were produced in a facility not licensed or inspected by the department.

During a routine inspection of a convenience store in Clare, Michigan, an MDARD food inspector discovered approximately 75 pounds of raw milk butter being offered for retail sale, in violation of state law.

The butter was packaged in one-pound clear plastic containers and labeled as “NON-GMO SWEET CREAM BUTTER w/Himalayan salt.” The butter was placed under seizure and subsequently voluntarily disposed of by the retailer.

It is not known if the farm has sold products to other retail locations or if products other than raw milk butter have been produced for sale. Retail stores selling products from John Shetler’s farm, which is an unlicensed, unapproved source, are subject to regulatory action under the Food Law. Retail Stores should immediately remove those products from sale, hold the products in a safe place away from any sales areas, and contact their MDARD food inspector.

“Our food and dairy inspectors are committed to making sure the food we feed our families is made in a safe way and is free of foodborne pathogens, but it requires a partnership with those we regulate to make that happen,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Under the Michigan Food Law, MDARD is charged with licensing and inspecting food manufacturing facilities and retail food establishments to protect public health and assure a safe and wholesome food supply. Foods offered for sale must be made in licensed and inspected facilities, which this farm was not.” 

The Manufacturing Milk Law requires dairy processing facilities to be licensed, make products from pasteurized milk and dairy products, and properly label products. MDARD will work with the dairy farm if the farm determines it wants to become licensed to produce dairy products in the future.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. Raw milk can carry dangerous pathogens, such as Brucella, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella, which can pose serious health risks to you and your family, and can cause diarrhea, stomach cramping, and vomiting. Raw milk consumption has been linked to the development of severe or even life-threatening diseases, including Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause paralysis; and hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can result in kidney failure, stroke, and even death. The risk of getting sick from drinking contaminated raw milk is greater for infants and young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer, an organ transplant, or HIV. However, healthy people of any age can get very sick or even die if they drink raw milk contaminated with harmful germs.

If you have purchased any products produced by this farm, do not eat them. Dispose of the products or return them to the place of purchase. If you have consumed any of these products and feel ill, seek medical attention immediately.

Questions may be directed to the MDARD Customer Service Center at 800-292-3939, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.