Not enough consistent hot water was pinpointed as the cause of a listeria scare at Real Milk Timaru earlier this month.
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VALENTINA BELLOMO/STUFF Real Milk Timaru’s Stu Weir is pleased to have production resuming and lis ooking forward to Covid-19 alert level 3. (File photo)

“We’ve rectified it by putting in extra hot water cylinders to take care of any potential risk,” Stu Weir, who runs the business with wife Andrea Weir, said.

“We had great support from technicians who swab tested the whole plant.”

The raw milk producer in Fairview Rd, on the outskirts of Timaru, was shut down on August 14 after the Ministry for Primary Industries advised it was recalling specific batches of unpasteurised drinking milk after the detection of listeria.

The all-clear was given last week and Real Milk resumed operations on Thursday selling its unpasteurised milk online and through home deliveries around South Canterbury.

Five consecutive days of clear tests were required before the business could resume, although due to alert level 4 Covid-19 restrictions, a vending machine at the business could not reopen.

“It was a cause of a lot of stress to us with two listeria outbreaks in a short period of time,” Weir said

“We spent a huge amount of money with a new shed and plant, and it was not what we expected.”

The previous listeria scare occurred on June 17 when the business shut down, restarting on June 23.

Weir said the cause of that outbreak was traced to an auto drain from the milk line.

“It’s business as usual for us. The cows don’t know this Covid business is on. Our shop will be opened fully on Wednesday under level 3.”

The Weirs’ Real Milk herd comprised 15 cows in addition to 220 which supplied milk for Fonterra.

Arla Foods is examining how dairy farming can help improve soil biology, carbon capture, water quality and biodiversity via regenerative farming methods.

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