The recall was initiated after routine sampling conducted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) revealed the presence of toxin-producing E. coli in retail raw milk dated 2/1 (February 1). The recalled product was bottled in half-gallon containers and was sold via retail stores in Yelm and Olympia, WA as well as on-farm sales. Toboton Creek Dairy and WSDA continue to work jointly to address the source of the problem.
Consumers who have purchased Toboton Creek Dairy retail raw whole milk with Best By dates of “2/1” through “2/9” are urged not to drink the product and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 360-894-5691 between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM Pacific Time.
Retail raw milk is legal to sell and buy in Washington State, but the potential health risks are serious. Consumers should read the warning label on the retail raw milk container carefully and ask their retailer to verify the milk was produced and processed by a WSDA-licensed operation.
About E. coli infections
Anyone who has eaten any of the implicated products and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about their possible food poisoning. Specific tests are required to diagnose the infections, which can mimic other illnesses.
The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor.
Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients.
People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.