The Associated Press reports that Dee Creek Farm is being investigated by at least four state and local agencies after the unlicensed farm sold tainted milk and caused E. coli poisoning in 11 or more people.
Cowlitz County prosecutors said that misdemeanor charges could be filed if the owners, Anita and Michael Puckett, don’t provide a list of customers who purchased raw milk.
Dee Creek responded that the farm was not selling raw milk but was distributing the product under a cow-share program in which consumers buy shares in an animal in exchange for part of the milk.
A license is still required by Washington state law to distribute raw milk through a cow-share program. The law is published in a State Agriculture Department brochure.
The Pucketts have said that they have cow-share contracts with 45 families.
The Pucketts have canceled an inspection by the state Agriculture Department, telling officials they planned to consult a lawyer after getting themselves tested for E. coli.