Screen Shot 2011-09-20 at 1.35.21 PM.pngAccording to Food Safety News, Pride & Joy Creamery, a dairy farm in Eastern Washington state, has recalled its raw milk because it may be contaminated with E. coli, a bacteria that can cause serious illness, according to a news release issued by the state’s Agriculture Department at the dairy’s request.

The raw milk was sold at the dairy’s farm store near Granger in the Yakima Valley and distributed through nine Western Washington retail outlets in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Skagit counties.

According to the department’s statement, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections may cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps and bloody stools. Symptoms generally appear 3 to 4 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 (HUS), 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.

Tim Church, spokesman for the state’s Health Department, told Food Safety News that since August, there have been four cases of children sickened with E. coli, possibly caused by raw milk. All of the children said they drank raw milk. All were hospitalized, but Church didn’t have any information about whether or not they had returned home. The children live in Western Washington.

“The information gleaned by the Health Department led us to believe there was a good reason to conduct additional testing at the dairy,” said Jason Kelly, spokesman of the state’s Agriculture Department.

The recall was initiated after sampling by the department discovered that the dairy’s milk was contaminated with toxin-producing E. coli.

The four illnesses have not been linked to Pride & Joy Creamery.