E. coli found in product at Dungeness Valley Creamery

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– The state Department of Agriculture issued a warning Tuesday afternoon to those who have bought Dungeness Valley Creamery’s raw Jersey whole milk, raw Jersey skim milk and raw Jersey cream, saying they could be contaminated with E. coli bacteria that can cause serious illness.

The department said no human illnesses were linked to the creamery’s products.

Ryan McCarthy, whose family owns the creamery at 1915 Towne Road, said the creamery was told Friday that the agency had found a preliminary positive for E. coli in a raw cream sample taken Feb. 19.

“Of course, we take very seriously the health of our customers,” McCarthy said.

“We wouldn’t sell anything to our customers that we wouldn’t eat ourselves.”

McCarthy said the creamery has stopped producing cream.

McCarthy also said it will re-evaluate the way it hand-skims cream off milk in the future.

Dungeness Valley Creamery’s products labeled with best-buy dates of March 2 or later may be contaminated, the agency said in its health alert.

Unpasteurized products sold in gallon, half- gallon, quart and pint containers are included under the alert.

The agency and the creamery are investigating the source.

The initial batch identified as contaminated included about 50 pints of milk that went to a few vendors, McCarthy said.

McCarthy contacted them and told them to discard the product, crediting it to their accounts.

The creamery produces 275 gallons of milk per day.

Its raw milk products are sold in Sequim at the Sequim Prairie Grange, Red Rooster Grocery and Sunny Farms Farm Store; in Port Angeles at Country Aire and Good To Go; and in Port Townsend at the Food Co-op.

They also are sold on Bainbridge Ilsand and in Bothell, Bremerton, Federal Way, Issaquah, Longview, Olympia, Poulsbo, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver:

The health department said some strains of E. coli produce a toxin called Shiga that can lead to 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 is urged to contact a health-care provider.

E. coli infection can harm the red blood cells and kidneys, the department said. Especially at risk are infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

In late 2009, the Dungeness Valley Creamery, under previous ownership, was cited by the state Department of Health after three people who had drank the milk became infected with E. coli.

There was no bacteria found in milk samples at that time.

Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 26. 2013 6:07PM
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