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Infections linked to raw milk consumption in multiple Washington counties

Milk is prepared to be given away to people at the 33rd annual Christmas food giveaway on Dec. 12, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Five cases of campylobacteriosis have been identified in individuals who bought Dungeness Valley Creamery raw milk in Clallam, Skagit, Kitsap, and Clark counties.

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Dungeness Valley Creamery issued a voluntary recall of all its raw milk products with a “best by” date of April 13, 2021, or earlier. These products may be contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria, which can can serious illness.

The infection can cause fever, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. Most people recover on their own, but anyone immuno-compromised may be at risk for a severe illness.

The recalled product is bottled in gallon, half-gallon, quart, and pint containers. It was sold to customers in western Washington at the on-farm store, outside retail stores, and drop-off locations. Health officials advise consumers not to drink any Dungeness Valley Creamery raw milk product with a best by of April 13 or earlier, and to discard any leftovers or return it to the place of purchase.

“Unpasteurized raw milk can carry harmful bacteria and germs. Foodborne illnesses can be caused by many different foods; however, raw milk is one of the riskiest,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases.

Raw milk is milk from cows, goats, sheep, or other animals that has not been pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to kill illness-causing bacteria in the milk.

In Washington state, between 2005 and 2012, the state Department of Health says there have been seven outbreaks linked to raw milk or cheese products, which resulted in 53 illnesses. The number of illnesses, however, is likely to be higher as not all cases of foodborne illness are recognized or reported.

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The production of raw milk in Washington is regulated by the state Department of Agriculture. Find more information about the risks online here from the Washington State Department of Health.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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