The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is warning consumers not to drink Dungeness Valley Creamery brand raw Jersey whole milk, raw Jersey skim milk, and raw Jersey cream because the products may be contaminated with Escherichia coli bacteria (E. coli) that can cause serious illness.

Dungeness Valley Creamery raw Jersey cream, raw Jersey whole milk and raw Jersey skim milk with any Best Buy dates of 03/02 or later may be contaminated. The firm sells its products in gallon, half gallon, quart and pint containers. Today’s health alert includes all container sizes of the unpasteurized milk products.

The health alert is being initiated after routine sampling by WSDA found toxin-producing E. coli in a sample of raw cream. Based in Sequim, the Dungeness Valley Creamery and WSDA are continuing their investigation into the source of the problem. Currently, no human illnesses have been linked with these products.

Some strains of E. coli produce a toxin called Shiga toxin that can lead to severe illness. Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections may cause 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 should contact a health care provider.

The infection sometimes causes hemolytic uremic syndrome, 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.

According to the Dungeness Valley Creamery website, the firm’s products are sold at the following retail locations:

Bainbridge Island: Real Foods; Pan D’Amore; Walt’s Lynwood Center Market

Bothell: Tru Health

Bremerton: CJ’s Evergreen General Store; Fresh Local

Federal Way: Marlene’s Market & Deli

Issaquah: Front Street Red Apple

Longview: Country village Nutrition Shoppe

Olympia: Olympia Food Co-op East; Olympia Food Co-op West

Port Angeles: Country Aire; Good To Go

Port Townsend: Port Townsend Food Co-op

Poulsbo: Abundantly Green

Seattle: Madison Market; My Asia’s Essentials; Pike Place Market Creamery

Sequim: Sequim Prairie Grange; Red Rooster Grocery; Sunny Farms Farm Store

Tacoma: Marlene’s Market & Deli

Vancouver: Chuck’s Produce; Neighbors Market

Retail raw milk is legal to sell and buy in Washington, but there are serious potential health risks. Consumers should read the warning label on the retail raw milk container carefully and ask their retailer to verify the milk was produced and processed by a WSDA-licensed operation.

Read Seattle Times article on Dungeness Valley Creamery from 2010.