Pure Eire Dairy E. coli Outbreak and Litigation - Washington (2021)


The E. coli attorneys at Marler Clark represented 6 of the victims in this litigation. They successfully settled all cases which included compensation for wage loss and medical expenses.

On May 12, 2021, The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced a multi-county outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that began as a Public Health-Seattle & King County investigation involving several children with E. coli. The outbreak was linked to PCC Community Market brand yogurt produced by Pure Eire Dairy. The DOH reported 17 confirmed cases infected with bacteria that were genetically linked.

Case information

The outbreak included seventeen confirmed cases across Benton County (1),Clark County (1),King County (9), Snohomish County (2), Yavapai (AZ)(3), and Walla Walla County (1). The Arizona patients were secondary infections, meaning the individuals infected were made ill by contact with an ill person in Washington. The Department of Health only reported confirmed cases infected with bacteria that were genetically linked.

There were ten cases in the outbreak between ages 0-9, three cases age 10-19, one case age 20-29, one age 30-39, one age 40-49, and one case age 70-79. Ten individuals were hospitalized and four individuals developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a serious complication of E. coli O157:H7 infection that can damage the kidneys and other organs. No deaths were reported. The earliest individual to become ill in the outbreak started having symptoms March 9.

The DOH coordinated the investigation with local health jurisdictions to identify cases related to the outbreak using genetic testing of the bacteria and investigating possible causes. In this type of investigation, public health staff interview cases, look for commonalities and work with local and federal partners to trace back foods that may have caused the illness.

Linked product information

On May 15, DOH announced a likely link to PCC Community Market brand yogurt produced by Pure Eire Dairy. Pure Eire Dairy issued a voluntary recall of affected products and PCC removed the products from shelves.

From PCC Community Markets (Puget Consumers Co-op)

Out of an abundance of caution, Pure Éire Dairy voluntarily recalled the following product due to the possible presence of E. coli O157:H7.

PCC ORGANIC GRASS-FED YOGURT
ALL 8-OZ & 16-OZ FLAVORS

Best By Dates: All

THE FOLLOWING PCC DELI ITEMS ALSO CONTAINED PCC ORGANIC GRASS-FED YOGURT:

• Yogurt (salad bar)
• Butter Chicken (hot bar and to-go casseroles)
• Spicy Yellow Curry Chicken (hot bar and to-go casseroles)
• Tzatziki Sauce (grain bowl bar, to-go spreads)
• Sticky Toffee Pudding (refrigerated desserts)

From Pure Eire Dairy Facebook page:

Notice of Recall on our Yogurt Products:
We regret to inform you that we have been contacted by the Washington State Department of Health due to a possible link between our yogurt products (Pure Eire and PCC brands) and possible E. coli contamination. We are awaiting further testing information. However, out of an abundance of caution we are voluntarily recalling all of our yogurt products and halting yogurt production until further investigations are conducted. As you are the reason we exist and your health is our greatest concern, we have asked our retail outlets to pull all of their yogurt inventory and halt all yogurt sales. We’re also advising you to discontinue consumption of any yogurt you may have on hand. We take any and all contamination concerns very seriously. Your health and safety have always been our primary concern.