An organic raw milk dairy quietly pulled its unpasteurized milk from Washington state retailers Friday, one day after refusing a request from state officials who wanted the milk recalled because lab tests had confirmed Salmonella contamination.

The owners of Pride & Joy Puget Sound LLC posted a short statement about their decision to remove their raw milk from stores on the company’s Facebook page on Friday. That afternoon they again turned to social media to announce the news that a retailer in Vancouver, WA, is no longer carrying Pride & Joy milk.

The dairy’s Facebook post regarding what state officials refer to as a “market withdrawal” said, in its entirety:

“Out of an abundance of caution we have talked to all of our stores and asked them to pull any milk dated October 4th for a full credit. We will be continuing to investigate the situation. We stand behind our products and will offer a full refund to anyone who would like for their October 4th milk. We will be continuing our production as normal.”

As of Monday night, the Pride & Joy corporate website did not have any information about the product withdrawal or the news that Chuck’s Produce stores in Vancouver are no longer carrying dairy’s milk. A spokesman at Chuck’s Produce declined to discuss the situation.

None of the dairy owners — Allen Voortman, Cheryl Voortman, Ricky Umipig and Cindy Umipig — responded Monday to requests for comment.

State continues investigation
The dairy owners did not notify the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) of their move to pull product from retailers and offer consumers refunds, according to a spokesman for the department.

The department issued a warning Thursday, Sept. 28, advising people to not consume Pride & Joy organic raw milk. The state officials recommended that any unused milk in consumers’ homes should be thrown out. They also urged anyone who has consumed unpasteurized, raw milk from the Toppenish, WA, dairy and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection to immediately seek medical attention.

The agriculture department doubled down on its warning Monday as investigators continued their work.

“We are concerned that production and distribution is continuing, which is why we continue to advise consumers to avoid consuming Pride & Joy dairy organic retail raw milk,” a WSDA spokesman told Food Safety News Monday afternoon.

“Today, WSDA obtained additional samples of Pride & Joy Creamery product for testing.”

Initial results from those tests won’t be available for several days. If they come back positive for pathogens, confirmation testing will take several more days.

Pride & Joy produced the implicated batch of organic raw milk on Sept. 13 and marked it with what the dairy owners referred to as a “pull date” of Oct. 4.  It can take from several hours to two weeks for symptoms of Salmonella infection to develop, so health officials say it is possible that people who recently drank the unpasteurized milk may not yet have become sick.

Symptoms can include fever, diarrhea that is often bloody, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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