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 is likely linked to PCC Community Market brand yogurt produced by Pure Eire Dairy. The DOH is reporting 17 confirmed cases infected with bacteria that have been genetically linked.
The outbreak currently includes 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 are likely secondary infections, meaning the individuals infected probably were made ill by contact with an ill person in Washington. The Department of Health is only reporting confirmed cases infected with bacteria that have been genetically linked, but local health officials may report higher numbers for their counties that include cases still under investigation.
There are 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 have been 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 have been reported at this time. The earliest individual to become ill in the outbreak started having symptoms March 9, and the most recent individual had symptoms starting April 21.
The investigation is ongoing. DOH is coordinating 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. DOH will provide more information on the outbreak as it becomes available.
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. Anyone who has PCC Community Market or Pure Eire brand yogurt at home should not eat it and should throw it away.
The investigation is ongoing, and we may identify additional links to products as we continue to gather information from new cases. DOH will provide updates as the investigation progresses.
Public health message
If you have PCC Community Market brand yogurt or Pure Eire yogurt at home, do not eat it, instead bring it to the health department for testing. E. coli infections can cause serious complications. Symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps and blood in the stool. If you notice symptoms, especially bloody diarrhea, contact your health care provider right away.
From PCC Community Markets (Puget Consumers Co-op)
Out of an abundance of caution, Pure Éire Dairy has 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 CONTAIN 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)
We recommend that you throw away any affected product. You may request a full refund at PCC.
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.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $800 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.