The Longview Daily News reports that two bills were introduced in the House and Senate to make sure unlicensed dairies can’t skirt state and federal health laws, in response to the spread of a near-deadly strain of E. coli bacteria linked to raw milk from Dee Creek Farm.
Dee Creek Farm, an unlicensed dairy, gave raw, unpasteurized milk to “cow-shareholders,” of which 18 were sickened as a result of E.coli poisoning.
State law requires distributors of raw milk to follow federal health standards, get a state license and have their milk’s bacteria levels tested, but Anita and Michael Puckett, owners of the farm, claim that they didn’t sell the milk, but provided it for free to people who owned “shares” of the cow that produced the milk.
“Cow-sharing” is a loophole in the raw milk market that many feel should be closed.
The proposed bill also would give the Washington Department of Agriculture authority to inspect unlicensed dairies and review their business records.