The Washington State Agriculture Department has announced that Dee Creek Farm in Woodland will be fined $8,000 for distributing raw milk contaminated with E. coli and sickening 18 people, including 15 children.
Dairy owners Anita and Michael Puckett and Summer Steenbarger have expressed interest in obtaining a license to sell raw milk, but have yet to file the paperwork with the state. In the meantime, they are under a cease-and-desist order, prohibiting them from distributing any milk products.
A state investigation found many potential sources of contamination at Dee Creek, including mud and manure a foot deep on the barn’s dirt floor, the presence of chickens in the barn during milking, and a lack of basic sanitation practices. The farm was also found to be distributing raw milk without the required dairy-milk-producer or milk-processing licenses.
None of the farm’s cows had been given required tests for tuberculosis or brucellosis, the department said in a news release. The farm had also purchased a cow in Oregon and transported the animal into Washington without the proper animal inspection certificates.
The $8,000 is for the total of eight violations, each with a maximum $1,000 penalty.