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Dairy recalls raw milk for E. coli; best-by dates through Dec. 23

Anyone who has whole, raw milk on hand from Old Silvana Creamery should not consume it, according to the dairy owner, because samples of it have tested positive for E. coli, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal illnesses.

Jim Sinnema, owner, issued the recall today for the milk, which has best-by dates between Dec. 15 and Dec. 23. The dairy has voluntarily and temporarily ceased sales, according to state officials.

“The recall includes both of the firm’s retail raw milk brands, ‘Jim’s Jerseys’ and ‘Guernsey Goodness,’ which were bottled in half-gallon and one-gallon plastic jugs with orange or green caps. Recalled product was sold at the on-farm store, directly to private customers, and at retail stores in Western Washington,” according to the recall notice.

“Consumers who have purchased Old Silvana Creamery retail raw milk with ‘Best By dates’ of  12/15 through 12/23 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 425-268-7961.”

Anyone who has consumed any of the recalled milk and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should immediately seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure. Specific tests are required to diagnose E. coli infections. No illnesses had been reported as of today, according to a spokesman with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).

However, it can take up to 10 days for symptoms of E. coli infection to develop. Consequently, anyone who has consumed the recalled raw milk or served it to their children or others should watch for symptoms in the coming days.

Symptoms often begin slowly with mild belly pain or non-bloody diarrhea that worsens over several days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other symptoms can include severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is not very high, less than 101 degrees F.

A life-threatening complication — hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) — impacting the kidneys can occur, especially in children. It develops an average of seven days after the first symptoms appear, often when the diarrhea is improving.

This is at least the third time Old Silvana Creamery has recalled its raw milk because of contamination issues. In January 2015 the dairy recalled unpasteurized milk when Campylobacter bacteria were detected. In 2013 the dairy recalled raw milk because of antibiotic residues, according to records at WSDA.

“Old Silvana Creamery LLC and WSDA continue to work jointly to address the source of the problem while conducting additional product testing through the WSDA laboratory as well as Old Silvana Creamery’s independent laboratory,” according to the dairy’s recall notice.

It is within the law to sell unpasteurized milk and other dairy products at retail locations, according to Washington state law, but state health officials caution that it carries significant risks, especially for young children, the elderly, pregnant and nursing women and anyone with a suppressed immune system, such as cancer patients.

State law requires unpasteurized, raw milk and raw dairy products to carry warning labels.

“The potential health risks are serious,” according to state officials. “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.”

There are currently only 32 licensed raw milk operators in the state.

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