Late Friday afternoon, the Washington State Department of Agriculture, or WSDA, announced that it has temporarily suspended Pride & Joy Dairy’s raw milk license. The agency says it made the decision “due to ongoing concerns about pathogens” in the farm’s raw milk products.
This suspension, which Pride & Joy has a legal right to appeal, only affects the retail raw milk division of the dairy’s business–Pride & Joy is still able to collect and ship milk it produces to other companies to be pasteurized. The dairy is only prohibited from bottling and selling raw milk.
WSDA says that the suspension was prompted by the discovery of a strain of Salmonella known as Dublin in the dairy’s raw milk. It was this strain that the agency alleges sickened two people who reported consuming the dairy’s milk earlier this year and which caused the positive test in September.
The agency now officially advises Washington residents not to consume any Pride and Joy retail raw milk product.
Why Salmonella Dublin Is Important
The Dublin strain of Salmonella is worrisome to health experts for a few reasons. It is what is known as a cattle-adapted bacterium and can be devastating to a farm’s calf population. It can also cause pregnant cows to abort.
In humans, Salmonella Dublin can cause serious blood infections. Data from a 2017 study suggest that Dublin is deadlier than some other Salmonella strains and tends to show resistance to antibiotic drugs. From 2005 to 2013, more than 4% of people hospitalized with the strain ultimately died from it.
Dublin appears to be especially dangerous to patients whose health is already compromised.
What Pride & Joy Says
The owners of Pride & Joy remain adamant that their raw milk products are safe. They point out that, even now, no one has reported being sicken by the allegedly tainted September batch. And their own tests, the creamery says, showed no contamination at all.
They ended their latest public statement by accusing the media of “twisting” their comments and setting up a private Facebook group so raw milk enthusiasts can discuss raw dairy products without the Department of Agriculture’s “quietly watching” eyes: