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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Hello, My Name is _________ and I Stopped Selling Raw Milk in 2006

I just got the below email tonight.  I deleted identifying information to protect the dairyman’s identification.

I’ve been following your blog ever since our unfortunate involvement in the raw milk business in 2006. I’ve found it to be an excellent information source. We’ve talked in the past, as you might recall. We no longer are involved in producing raw milk products, nor will we ever be.

What people need to realize with E-coli is that it doesn’t take very many cells, to make a person deathly ill. And it’s in manure, that’s a fact, it’s not a matter of if someone will get sick from raw milk it’s just a matter as to when. And it appears that the person has 3 possible outcomes, 1) their immune system gets them through it, very painful. 2) They survive but have lifetime health issues, HUS etc. or 3) Death. This is why I will never produce raw milk products for commercial sale ever again.

We now produce a very nice pasteurized _____ Guernsey yogurt that you might like to try, it’s available at the _____ Market on _____, also _____ Market.

As an ending comment, have you noticed how lax the media has been on the latest E-coli outbreak? According to press release, 3 people have been sickened from e-coli in raw milk from the Dungeness farm in Sequim, WA and not a peep, from the health department or mainstream media television etc. We had one confirmed incident, with another possible that didn’t require hospitalization and we had helicopters over our house for 3 days. With the seriousness of what E-coli is, I would think the health professionals and media would want to educate and warn the public as much as possible when an incident occurs.

Thank you, _____

  • My parents grew up in Pakistan, and though they didn’t very often get to drink milk, when they did, it was raw. It was also diluted, because merchants would mix it water and chalk to increase their quantity and profit. Almost all the kids grew up on that; I’m sure the ones that were well-off had access to pasteurized/homogenized milk, but that wasn’t available to the vast majority.
    My father in particular loves raw milk, but hasn’t had it since he came to America in the 70s. He talks about it sometimes, and says it tastes better than the milk we get here. The milk over there caused TB far more often than it caused E.Coli poisoning, and all that happened was that all the kids would take pills to treat TB (which were available pretty readily, from what I understand) and just keep drinking that milk.

  • Marissa Cassidy

    Dear Scared Dairy Farmer,
    Sorry to break the news to you, but Dungeness Valley Creamery’s milk didn’t have Ecoli. There were some strands on the cow poop cakes around the farm, but it wasn’t even the kind that makes you sick.
    What I wonder is why the WA State Dept of Health or the WSDA didn’t release a follow-up statement after the investigation stating the real culprit for the sickness of those three people. Did someone forgot to wash their hands after going to the bathroom? Was it the deli employee @ Whole Foods where they got their lunch. Of course they got sick with something else, but it’s more empowering to mess with Farmer Brown, who happen to own the cleanest dairy farm in the state.
    Sorry you couldn’t keep yours as clean…

  • From the Washington State Department of Agriculture:
    Recent illnesses are reminder of risks from drinking raw milk
    OLYMPIA — Three recent E. coli infections in Washington have been linked to drinking raw, unpasteurized milk. As a result, the Washington state departments of Health and Agriculture are reminding consumers of the potential health hazards of these products.
    The patients all report drinking raw milk produced by the Dungeness Valley Creamery in Sequim. No E. coli has been found in samples from the dairy’s current batch of milk, but during an investigation at the dairy, WSDA found the same bacteria that caused one of the illnesses.
    While most strains of the bacteria Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are harmless, others, including E. coli O157, produce a toxin. Toxin-producing E. coli infections may cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps and bloody stool. Symptoms generally appear three to four days after exposure, but can take as long as nine days to appear. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact a health care provider.
    Each year, the E. coli strain found in this investigation causes about 100,000 illnesses, 3,000 hospitalizations and 90 deaths in the United States.
    The infection sometimes causes hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious disease in which red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail. Infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk.
    Raw milk is riskier than pasteurized milk because it hasn’t been heated to kill harmful bacteria. Pasteurization kills the bacteria in raw milk that can cause illness. Besides E. coli, raw milk can also contain other potentially serious or life-threatening bacteria that have caused illness outbreaks in the past. These include Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria.
    Retail raw milk is legal to sell and buy in Washington, but there are serious potential health risks. Consumers should read the warning label on the retail raw milk container carefully and ask their retailer to verify the milk was produced and processed by a WSDA-licensed operation.

  • Dungeness Valley Creamery response to Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Press Release:
    The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) issued a misleading press release involving our business, Dungeness Valley Creamery. The press release failed to mention that there has been no proven link between the illnesses and our milk. Two of the three e coli’s were not even e coli 0157: H7. Although they mention that they found no e coli in our current batch of milk, they fail to mention that e coli has never been found in any of our milk…ever. When they say that they found the same bacteria at Dungeness Valley Creamery that caused one of the illnesses, they fail to explain that they found it in one swab test out of hundreds in an old dried up cow patty in a field and was not tested to be a DNA match. The bottling room in the creamery, the farm where we house and milk the cows, and the milk itself has been tested clean over and over.
    WSDA does mention that there are 100,000 illnesses of the 0157 H7 e coli strain every year in the US. It seems we only hear about the illnesses linked to raw milk. E coli can be found anywhere and everywhere. Why are these other cases being ignored and not released to the press? This is an excellent example of government bias against raw milk “When someone who drinks raw milk becomes ill, government agencies immediately report an ‘association’ with raw milk, ignoring other vectors of disease and subsequent tests showing the milk to be clean” says Sally Fallon, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation. We at Dungeness Valley Creamery sell about 250 gallons a day on average and so thousands of people have drank our milk for over three years now without any illnesses. We’ve had a very good relationship with the state and our inspector has been impressed with how easy we are to work with and how clean our facility is.
    WSDA did not issue any recall and they have the power to do so. If they proved our milk was not safe, they would have recalled all of our milk immediately. There has been no recall and you are still able to purchase this most wholesome and tested clean product. WSDA only put out the press release to make sure they are covered and are erring on the side of caution.
    We at the Dungeness Valley Creamery strive to provide the highest quality milk in its natural form. Our reputation has been compromised without any fault of our own. We are a hard working, God-fearing family farm trying to make an honest living. We thank all of our loyal customers and ask for your continued support and prayers.
    Reference: http://www.realmilk.com/press-release-12mar07.html

  • Alhadi M.Wajiej

    dear sir ,
    hello , i hope for you all the best , have you any news about the presence of E. sakazakii in raw & opwdered milk .
    thank you so much .
    Alhadi M. Wajiej