"I want to express the reason we pulled the milk is that we worry about our customers. We want to deliver nothing less than a quality product," Shatto said when reached at his farm Thursday afternoon.
He spent most of yesterday with inspectors from the Milk Board looking at the farm's practices and operations to try and ascertain what led to the elevated phosphates, which can indicate that milk has been improperly pasteurized or can occur if milk isn't kept cool enough after pasteurization.
"They looked over our charts and said, why don't you bottle up a little bit of each milk," Shatto says. "Everything looked good. We do tests on our milk, too, and none of our tests showed anything."
The inspectors took samples to a lab in Springfield, Missouri, and Shatto expects to have results back by late today. If the phosphates are within the accepted range, Shatto will resume production and hopes to have milk back on store shelves by Monday. The recall adds to what has already been a trying summer for the dairy because the heat stifles cows' milk, impacting Shatto's ability to stock shelves. Shatto has installed new barns, fans and sprinklers in an attempt to keep the cows cool.
"The cows are drinking over a bathtub of water a day," Shatto says.
Shatto has promised a full refund to customers who return milk they purchased before the bottles were removed. Some stores may still have a few bottles on the shelves, electing to keep stock that was on shelves prior to the latest test results (August 18 drink-by date).
"I hope our customers understand," Shatto says. "It gives me goose bumps reading Facebook and seeing the support we have."