The owners of a Woodland, Washington, dairy paid an $8,000 fine that was assessed after an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was traced to the dairy in 2005. The fine was issued by the Washington Department of Agriculture not as punishment for selling E. coli-contaminated raw milk, but for selling raw milk without a license to do so. Barbara Laboe of the Longview Daily News reported extensively on the outbreak, and has followed the Dee Creek Farm owners’ battle with the State over paying the fine. She wrote:
The Pucketts were fined $8,000 in March 2006 in connection with the 2005 E. coli investigation concerning Dee Creek’s raw cow milk. The fine isn’t for the E. coli outbreak, just violations uncovered during that investigation.
The Pucketts appealed that fine last summer and today’s hearing was to argue their case before an administrative law judge. Late Monday they notified the state they were withdrawing the appeal. Included in the violations was distributing raw, or unpasteurized, milk without the proper state license and inspections.
Raw milk can be sold legally in Washington, but only with a state license and regular inspections. According to state officials, the Pucketts’ farm had numerous health and hygiene violations in 2005 and could not have come close to passing an inspection.
Marler Clark represented victims of the E. coli outbreak traced to Dee Creek Farms raw milk in claims against the dairy. All claims have been resolved.