Prior E. coli outbreak in 2009 and recall in 2013.
The Department of Health cautioned consumers today to be aware of the risks of drinking raw milk especially for infants and young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.
“Raw milk doesn’t go through the pasteurization process where harmful germs and bacteria are destroyed. This puts infants, young children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with a weakened immune system at a greater risk of illness when they drink it,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, Washington state communicable disease epidemiologist.
Lab results recently confirmed a child under 5 years old from Island County and resident in their 70s of Clallam County became ill with an E. coli infection after drinking Dungeness Valley Creamery raw milk.
E. coli infections may cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps and bloody stool. Symptoms generally appear three to four days after exposure, but can take up to nine days to appear. In some cases, the infection causes a serious disease resulting in kidney failure.
Individuals who have any of these symptoms after consuming raw milk should consult their health care provider and notify their local health departments.
In 2009 an outbreak was linked to the consumption of raw, unpasteurized, whole milk produced by the Dungeness Valley Creamery. There were a total of three cases. There were two E. coli strains implicated. One strain was confirmed and was E. coli O121. The other strain was suspected and was E. coli O157:H7. Raw milk was legal to sell and buy in Washington, provided the dairy underwent a series of inspections and was licensed. This dairy had been licensed since 2006.
In 2013, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is warned consumers not to drink Dungeness Valley Creamery brand raw Jersey whole milk, raw Jersey skim milk, and raw Jersey cream because the products may be contaminated with Escherichia coli bacteria (E. coli) that can cause serious illness.
Dungeness Valley Creamery raw Jersey cream, raw Jersey whole milk and raw Jersey skim milk with any Best Buy dates of 03/02 or later may be contaminated. The firm sells its products in gallon, half gallon, quart and pint containers. Today’s health alert includes all container sizes of the unpasteurized milk products.
The health alert is being initiated after routine sampling by WSDA found toxin-producing E. coli in a sample of raw cream. Based in Sequim, the Dungeness Valley Creamery and WSDA are continuing their investigation into the source of the problem. Currently, no human illnesses have been linked with these products.
Some strains of E. coli produce a toxin called Shiga toxin that can lead to severe illness. Shiga 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.
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.
According to the Dungeness Valley Creamery website, the firm’s products are sold at the following retail locations:
• Bainbridge Island: Real Foods; Pan D’Amore; Walt’s Lynwood Center Market
• Bothell: Tru Health
• Bremerton: CJ’s Evergreen General Store; Fresh Local
• Federal Way: Marlene’s Market & Deli
• Issaquah: Front Street Red Apple
• Longview: Country village Nutrition Shoppe
• Olympia: Olympia Food Co-op East; Olympia Food Co-op West
• Port Angeles: Country Aire; Good To Go
• Port Townsend: Port Townsend Food Co-op
• Poulsbo: Abundantly Green
• Seattle: Madison Market; My Asia’s Essentials; Pike Place Market Creamery
• Sequim: Sequim Prairie Grange; Red Rooster Grocery; Sunny Farms Farm Store
• Tacoma: Marlene’s Market & Deli
• Vancouver: Chuck’s Produce; Neighbors Market