State investigators have conclusively linked Woodland’s Dee Creek Farm to the December E. coli outbreak that sickened 18 people, according to the Daily News.
Investigators found E. coli bacteria in seven of the 57 samples taken at the unlicensed dairy, both in the unpasteurized, or raw milk, and in the mud and muck in and around the barn. Labs were then able to genetically match the samples to E. coli found in the 18 infected patients, who all drank Dee Creek milk.
In addition to the E. coli tests, investigators found numerous health and safety violations — several of which could lead to immediate closure if discovered at a licensed dairy.
Amongst the violations at the farm:
- No water or wastewater systems or hand-washing areas in the barn.
- Cows walked through 12 inches of mud and manure to enter the barn.
- The milking area floor was not concrete, as required, and had mud and manure present during milking.
- The same towel used to clean a cow’s udder was then used to wipe the lip of the milking machine.
- Milking equipment came in contact with cows’ muddy legs during milking.
- Chickens covered in mud and manure flew overhead during milking.
- Collected milk was transported in a dirty, hay filled car with one container covered only with a piece of plastic wrap.
- The milk was bottled in the family kitchen, not the required separate facility.
- No documentation of tests for brucellosis and tuberculosis.
- The farm’s beef cattle have contact with a wild elk herd.