Sequim-State Department of Agriculture laboratory tests found no traces of E. coli in products from Dungeness Valley Creamery, a raw milk dairy farm north of Sequim, after Department of Health officials linked two cases of E. coli with consumption of the dairy’s products.
Last Friday, the state’s Department of Health issued a press release that said: “Lab results recently confirmed a child under 5-years-old from Island County and (a) resident in their 70s of Clallam County became ill with an E. coli infection after drinking Dungeness Valley Creamery raw milk.”
However, representatives of the state’s Department of Agriculture said that results the following day showed E. coli was not found in random product samples from the farm. Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals.
Chris McGann, spokesman for the state’s Department of Agriculture who regulates raw milk producers, said the agency tested 21 samples of raw milk, with 15 randomly selected from retail locations and six directly from the dairy, and all were deemed “not found” to have E. coli.
Liz Coleman, communication lead for environmental public health, said investigators found unique strands of E. coli in the consumers and the common link was they both drank raw milk roughly around the same time from the creamery.
State health officials said the milk batch that allegedly held E. coli and infected the two patients was unavailable for testing.
Ryan McCarthey, Dungeness Valley Creamery co-owner, said, “They haven’t found any contamination, so I don’t have any reasons to believe our product is contaminated. I guess it’s going to be one of those unsolved mysteries.”
McCarthey said he disagrees with the Department of Health’s wording that the infection came from the creamery.
“We want to know if there was a pathogen,” he said. “We definitely want to do our best to control and mitigate any problem with product.”