Courtesy Pride & Joy Dairy
More raw milk from a dairy that already has been ordered to stop processing milk has tested positive for salmonella, Washington State Department of Agriculture spokesman Hector Castro said Tuesday.
WSDA found the bacteria in all four samples collected Oct. 2 from Pride & Joy Dairy of Toppenish. WSDA was following up on finding salmonella in a sample taken Sept. 18.
“We don’t typically get a detection of a pathogen during a second round of testing,” Castro said. “It’s even less common to find something in each of the samples.”
Finding more salmonella had no immediate regulatory consequences, but was another blow to Pride & Joy. WSDA on Oct. 6 ordered the dairy to cease production after the state Health Department connected Pride & Joy to two people hospitalized with salmonella poisoning in January.
Health officials suspected a link at the time, but didn’t have the evidence until they matched the strain of salmonella that sickened the two people with the strain found at the dairy in September.
Pride & Joy said in a Facebook post Saturday that it would comply with the order. The dairy had declined a WSDA request on Sept. 28 to voluntarily halt selling raw milk pending more tests and an investigation into the source of the contamination.
Pride & Joy owner Cheryl Voortman said in an email Tuesday that an Idaho lab tested raw milk samples from the dairy last week and found no contamination. The dairy posted the same information on its Facebook page.
The dairy also said it was starting a private Facebook discussion group, “Raw Milk Power,” which will be open to only “verified customers and known advocates.”
Castro said WSDA will conduct further tests to see whether the salmonella found in the samples collected Oct. 2 matches the strain that was found in September and that sickened the two people in January.
The two were hospitalized in Clark and Pierce counties and both said they had consumed raw milk from Pride & Joy. In follow-up tests, WSDA did not find salmonella in the dairy’s milk, but it did find E. coli. The dairy stopped production for nearly three months while it worked to satisfy WSDA that it had corrected any problems.
To regain its processor’s license, the dairy will again have to submit a plan to WSDA, Castro said. “We need to ascertain whether we think that’s going to work,” he said.
Pride & Joy has about 100 milking cows and has been selling raw milk for nine years, according to Cheryl Voortman, who owns the dairy with her husband, Allen Voortman.
The dairy bottles its raw milk under its own label and has been available in about two dozen stores in Western and Eastern Washington. The dairy retains its license to produce milk and can sell it to other processors to be pasteurized.
WSDA tests samples from the state’s 39 licensed raw milk producers each month.