Owners of Dungeness Valley Creamery, 1915 Towne Road, north of Sequim, voluntarily advised customers last week to discontinue consuming retail raw milk and cream products dated Sept. 29 and 30.
Following a routine sampling by Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), a sample of cream dated Sept. 29 was found with the presence of E. coli.
Ryan McCarthey, co-owner of the creamery, said in an interview seven other samples of cream and milk from Sept. 29-30, and Oct. 5-7 came back negative.
No other production dates are impacted and the creamery’s products remain available at about 70 retail and drop-off locations.
No illnesses have been reported from the farm’s products, state officials report.
McCarthey said he and state officials weighed what to do and felt there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support a recall.
The creamery had already sent out two more batches that were cleared of any potential contamination, he said.
“Retailers didn’t need to take any other action other than posting a notification,” he said.
“It’s very unlikely someone was keeping expired milk, but (if) someone froze it or had made their own product with it we wanted them to stop drinking them if they had them.”
Unless frozen, raw milk and cream has an expiration date of 14 days from when it leaves the cow, McCarthey said.
“What we hope this action demonstrates to consumers is our transparency and our willingness to let them know of any potential risk,” McCarthey said.
“We also hope consumers won’t be misled to think these products necessarily contained that pathogen.”
Bottles of the creamery’s raw milk are sold in bottles sizes of a gallon, half-gallon, quart and pint containers.
McCarthey said retailers with these precautionary shipments for Sept. 29-30 received a food safety notification, similar to their products, that states: “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. In some cases, the infection causes hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious disease in which red blood cells are destroyed resulting in kidney failure. Infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk.”
McCarthey and his wife Sarah have implemented ongoing cleaning measures, installed more sanitation equipment, began independent lab testing and continued to apply for grants to improve the farm’s procedures.
Efforts started before and continued after e. Coli. was found in one product in April 2019, and another in June 2019 after state routine sampling.
McCarthey reiterated their efforts to be transparent: “We run the farm, but it feels like the community’s farms. With the way we’re supported, I try to operate in that way. It’s their farm and they need to know this, too.
“I want to keep it honest and they feel like friends and family, so why wouldn’t I want to be honest with them?”
The Dungeness Valley Creamery’s farm store is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday with masks required under state guidelines inside.
For more information call 360-683-0716 or visit www.facebook.com/dungenessvalleycreamery.