Cry me a river: making people barf can ruin a business

In Nov. 2011, raw milk produced by Cozy Vale Creamery in Tenino, Washington, sickened at least three children and environmental swabs found E. coli O157 at the dairy.

Today, the owner and armchair epidemiologist says the publicity and lawsuit for making people barf is ruining his business and it’s "hanging on by it’s fingernails."


In a statement posted on the Cozy Valley (or Vale, they seem to be used interchangeably) Dairy website, the owner says the lawsuit, bad press and community gossip have "nearly ruined" the business.

"Cows still giving lots of good milk…do I use it as fertilizer and hope that business will pick up, or should I send the girls to the slaughter house," the statement reads.

“I’d like to let you know that recent publicity and gossip foisted upon Cozy Vale has nearly ruined us. Cozy Vale is hanging on by it’s fingernails. If you’d like to see us continue our small farming enterprise, please let us know. Most of you know how important local products are to our local economy. I mean it’s tough enough already being a Raw Milk Dairy Producer and add to it a lawsuit, bad press, and community gossip. My God!

“I’ve learned that no good comes from talking to the press. I’ve learned that no good comes from not talking to the press. I’ve learned that if someone sues you, you become guilty instantly…and you know what? They know that. I’ve learned that facts can be presented in a way that can be damaging or helpful and the choice is always for damaging, its just more delicious that way! I’ve learned that gossip in a small community always divides it and destroys….um…I really thought better of my small community.

“There never was any ecoli found in our milk product. They did not find any ecoli in any of the milk samples taken. And the WSDA sampled over 36 seperate containers of milk (that I counted anyway). They tested the milk that the sick person drank from, no ecoli found. When my facility was swabbed down, they did not find ecoli anywhere that the milk would be. They tried really hard to find it too…even went so far as to stick a swab up the ass of my cows! (Well not really, but thats what it felt like). They did stick the swabs in old poop, steaming hot fresh poop, cows tails and udders. I was horrified!

In 3 sample swabs, one in the milking room floor, the sponge mop head, and processing room floor ecoli was found. It looks as if the mop had spread it around. I am told that the strain of ecoli found on my dairy room floor was a common type…I do not understand all of that, and am still looking into that.

Luckily, floor cleaning was an easy fix…it was fixed the very next day with a simple bleach solution.”

Would you buy raw milk or any food from this local producer?

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time