By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Ryan McCarthey, who owns and operates the dairy at 1915 Towne Road with his wife, Sarah, said Saturday they were notified by the state Department of Agriculture on Friday evening that inspectors may have found the bacteria in samples of the dairy's whole raw cream.
He said the state samples did not find Escherichia coli bacteria but could not rule out its presence from the samples.
The McCartheys expect to receive updated results early this week. In the meantime, they are recalling the batch.
“We wanted to get the world out as quickly as possible to consumers,” McCarthey said.
“At this point, it may be nothing. But we don't want to wait.”
They posted a notice of Agriculture's finding on the creamery's Facebook page Saturday and were alerting customers and vendors not to use products with the July 2 date and to pull them off the shelves.
No alert issued
The Agriculture Department had issued no alert and could not be contacted Saturday.
McCarthey said samples of milk tested from the same batches as the potentially contaminated cream did not show any possible contamination, but he still advised against consuming whole or skim milk or cream bearing the July 2 expiration date.
As of Saturday afternoon, McCarthey had not heard of any illnesses linked to the creamery's products.
E. coli lives in the lower intestines of people and animals and is commonly found in feces.
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.
The Agriculture Department in February of last year ordered the dairy to recall its raw Jersey whole milk, raw Jersey skim milk and raw Jersey cream after E. coli was identified in a sample of cream.
Production resumed after samples of subsequent batches were free from contamination.
Raw milk creamery
Dungeness Valley Creamery is one of the state's largest producers of raw milk.
The creamery produces around 300 gallons of milk per day and employs 12 people.
The creamery sells raw milk products 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 in 11 other Washington cities.
In late 2009, 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 email@example.com.