Washington farm fined as E. coli source


OLYMPIA, Wash. – After completing an investigation of Dee Creek Farm of Woodland, the Washington State Department of Agriculture announced March 23 it would assess a civil penalty of $8,000 against the unlicensed dairy operation.
Dee Creek Farm’s unpasteurized or “raw” milk was the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened at least 18 people in the Vancouver, Washington-Portland, Oregon area in December.
Three children were admitted to local intensive care units as a result of the infection.
No tests, license. After a joint investigation by the department and local health departments, Dee Creek Farm was found to be distributing raw milk without the required dairy milk producer or milk processing licenses.
None of the farm’s five cows had the required tests that certify the animals to be free of tuberculosis or brucellosis.
The farm has the opportunity to request a hearing before an administrative law judge to contest the investigative findings and the penalty.
Since the E. coli outbreak, Dee Creek Farm has been under a cease and desist order issued by the Cowlitz County Health Department that prohibits the dairy from distributing milk products.
Warning. On Aug. 11, 2005, the state ag department sent Dee Creek Farm a warning letter and license application after a Portland, Oregon newspaper reported that the dairy was distributing raw milk. The agency informed the dairy that unlicensed sale of raw milk is illegal, including milk distributed through a cow share arrangement.
Dee Creek Farm responded to the ag department by denying that they were selling milk, but expressed interest in becoming licensed. The farm has never submitted a license application.


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