E. coli Illnesses in Washington State Tied to Raw Milk

The Washington State Departments of Health and Agriculture today released information linking recent E. coli illnesses in Washington State to raw milk produced by the Dungeness Valley Creamery in Sequim, WA.

“Raw milk has been the vehicle for serious E. coli illnesses around the country,” said foodborne illness attorney Bill Marler. “We're working with families in California, Missouri, Connecticut, Michigan and even here in Washington State who are struggling with severe complications from raw milk E. coli infections.”

Marler Clark represented victims of both the Dee Creek Farm (Woodland, WA) raw milk E. coli outbreak in 2005 and the Grace Harbor Farms (Custer, WA) raw milk E. coli outbreak in 2006. The firm represented two children who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after drinking raw milk in Missouri, as well as a woman in California who was paralyzed by Guillain barre syndrome (GBS) from a raw milk-borne illness.

Milk is regulated state by state, and licensed dairies can legally sell raw milk in Washington. The Dungeness Valley Creamery is WSDA-licensed. E. coli matching the strain in a victim was found at the dairy.

There are many strains of Escherichia coli, but illnesses are caused by the toxin-producing strains. The most common of these is E. coli O157:H7. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea, often bloody. Severe complications are possible, including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can lead to kidney failure and other cascading issues. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should visit a healthcare provider and request a stool culture. There is a 1-10 day incubation period for E. coli, so anyone who has consumed raw milk from Dungeness Valley Creamery in the last 10 days should also consider getting tested, even if symptoms are not present.