Washington Creamery Recalls Raw Milk

Pride & Joy Creamery, LLC of Granger, Washington, is recalling raw fluid milk over concerns the raw milk is contaminated with the Escherichia coli bacteria (E. coli), a serious, sometimes deadly, foodborne pathogen, said the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).

The unpasteurized milk was sold at the farm and distributed through nine retail outlets in King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Skagit counties in Washington states: Sno-Isle in Everett, Truhealth in Bothell, Marlenes Market in Tacoma and Federal Way, Skagit Valley Food in Mt. Vernon, Manna Mills in Mountlake Terrace, Madison Market in Seattle, and Nature’s Market and Sunshine Corner Nutrition in Kent.

After WSDA sampling revealed contamination with toxin-producing E. coli, Pride & Joy Dairy, in collaboration with the WSDA, issued the recall and initiated an investigation into the source of the contamination. The WSDA and other public health officials are looking into possible human illnesses linked to the recalled raw milk.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), raw milk is unpasteurized milk from hoofed mammals that may contain a wide variety of harmful bacteria. While it is legal to sell raw milk in Washington, it is illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption in 22 states and the FDA bans sales of raw milk across state lines.

Consuming foods with less processing may appear to present a healthier choice; however, dangers exist when consuming unpasteurized milk and milk products, notes the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Pasteurization briefly heats milk at high temperatures killing most foodborne bacteria and is the only method used in the U.S., and considered by the FDA as the most reliable method.

For decades, public health authorities, including the FDA and CDC, have expressed concerns about the hazards of drinking raw milk. Since 1987, the FDA has required milk packaged for human consumption to be pasteurized before being introduced into interstate commerce. The CDC also notes that raw milk or raw milk products were implicated in 85 outbreaks that resulted in over 1,000 illnesses and two deaths in the U.S. during 1998-2005. Since all foodborne illnesses are not recognized and reported, the actual number associated with raw milk is probably greater.

E. coli are a group of bacteria found in animal intestines and feces. While some strains are necessary for digestion; some are harmful, deadly, and toxin producing and part of a group of E. coli called Verocytotoxigenic E. coli, or VTECs, also known as Shiga-producing E. coli, which may cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, and bloody stool; in the most severe cases, this infection can lead to kidney failure and death. Symptoms generally appear three to four days after exposure, but can take as long as nine days to manifest. The infection sometimes causes hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), 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.

The recalled Pride & Joy Raw Cow’s Milk bears expiration dates of 9/30/11 and 9/31/11 and is sold in gallon, half-gallon, and quart containers. Consumers who have purchased recalled Pride & Joy raw milk are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. The firm’s complete distribution list can be accessed later today on the WSDA website at http://agr.wa.gov/. Pride & Joy can be reached at 1.509.854.1389.

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