State: E. coli test of Dungeness Valley Creamery products comes back clean

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– Milk and cream from the Dungeness Valley Creamery is free from E. coli bacteria contamination, state officials said this morning.

Creamery owners warned consumers Saturday not to consume milk or cream products bearing a July 2 expiration date after initial testing from a Washington State Department of Agriculture sample showed indications that Escherichia coli bacteria could have been present in the dairy's whole raw cream.

Subsequent testing ruled out the bacteria's presence, according to Agriculture spokesman Hector Castro.

“We had some preliminary results that caused us some concern, but ultimately, the testing showed that there was not an issue,” Castro said.

Ryan McCarthey, who owns and operates the dairy at 1915 Towne Road with his wife, Sarah, posted a notice of Agriculture's initial finding on the creamery's Facebook page Saturday.

“In hindsight, maybe we were a bit overly cautions, but we just wanted to be on the safe side,” McCarthey said.

Dungeness Valley Creamery is one of the state's largest unpasteurized dairies, producing around 300 gallons of milk per day and employing 12 people.

“Ryan runs a good operation at Dungeness, and he exercised an abundance of caution in issuing the statement,” Castro said.

The recalled milk and cream will be disposed of by vendors of the dairy's products as if it was expired milk, McCarthey said.

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.

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.

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.

For more information, the dairy can be reached at (360) 683-0716.

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

Last modified: June 30. 2014 1:28PM
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