Washington raw milk dairies have seen more than a few recalls and outbreaks lately. Cozy Vale Farms, from Tenino, sickened at least 3 people, some critically, with E. coli contaminated raw milk. And recently, Golden Glen Creamery of Bow, Washington, recalled Butter and Raw Cheddar Cheese because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the same bacteria that has killed 30 in the cantaloupe Listeria outbreak. This recall appears to be related to a November recall of Golden Glen raw milk cheddar.
Here is a list of several other raw milk, or raw milk product-related, E. coli outbreaks and recalls over the last few years.
- Dungeness Valley Raw Whole Milk E. coli Outbreak 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.
- Dee Creek Farms Raw Milk E. coli Outbreak 2005: In November 2005, at least 18 people were sickened in an outbreak linked to the consumption of raw milk from Dee Creek Farm, located near Woodland, Washington. The farm was not licensed to sell raw milk, and during its investigation into the outbreak, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) noted several milk processing violations that would have been addressed during the licensing process had Dee Creek applied for the license. In addition, sample testing confirmed the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in two milk samples provided by Dee Creek Farm and in five environmental samples taken from Dee Creek Farm milk-barn areas by investigators. In the Dee Creek outbreak, five Clark County, Washington, children were hospitalized, with two developing Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome and requiring critical care and life support for kidney failure as a result of their E. coli infections.
- Grace Harbor Farms Raw Milk E. coli Outbreak 2006: In September 2006, two young children were infected by E. coli O157:H7 as a result of consuming raw goat’s milk produced and sold by Grace Harbor Farm. Multiple environmental specimens collected at the farm during the course of the outbreak investigation tested positive for the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 that infected the two young children.
- Pride and Joy Creamery Raw Milk E. coli Recall 2011: The Pride & Joy Creamery of Granger, Washington recalled raw milk sold at numerous retail outlets due to potential contamination with E. coli in September 2011. According to a news report, Washington State Department of Agriculture investigators discovered the E. coli bacteria during a routine sampling at Pride & Joy.
- Sally Jackson Raw Milk Cheese E. coli Outbreak 2010: In December 2010, at least 8 people were sickened in a multi-state E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to raw milk-based cheeses made by Sally Jackson, an artisan cheesemaker in Washington State
- Estrella Family Creamery Raw Milk Cheese Listeria Recall 2010: In fall 2010, this small cheesemaker in Washington State found itself doing battle, and pitting wills, with the FDA due to repeated positive tests for Listeria found at the cheese-producing premises. The situation sparked quite a controversy; for full reading, see Is there reason hidden in the debate over Estrella cheeses?
- Queseria Bendita Mexican Soft Cheese Listeria Recall 2010: In February 2010, Queseria Bendita of Yakima, Washington recalled three types of cheese, Queso Fresco, Panela, and Requeson, due to contamination by Listeria monocytogenes.
- Reports of Baby Deaths Linked to Listeria-contaminated Soft Cheeses (2009): According to the Spokane Newspaper, in March 2009 Washington State health investigators tried to solve several cases of food-borne infections that caused several pregnant women to lose their babies in the first months of the year. They suspected the women in Yakima, Klickitat and King counties ate unpasteurized cheese that was contaminated with listeria bacteria. Listeria is often found in soft cheeses such as Mexican-style queso fresco and queso Blanco, along with feta, brie, camembert, Roquefort and bleu.