A lawsuit, on behalf of a 5-year-old girl, will be filed in Thurston County against Cozy Valley Creamery, in Tenino, Washington, over accusations that the child developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after drinking raw milk contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. HUS is a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure.
According to news reports, Cozy Valley Creamery issued a recall on unpasteurized milk products on November 23, 2011 after three children were infected with an identical strain of E.coli. The Washington State Department of Agriculture found that the milking parlor and processing areas at Cozy Valley were contaminated with the same strain of E.coli as those affected by the outbreak.
The child, who had been drinking raw milk for months, was sickened on November 5, 2011 and suffered severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and nausea. Her parents called their physician after the child’s symptoms got worse, and her stool became bloody. Emergency treatment was advised, and the child was admitted to the hospital where she was treated for dehydration. Though her condition seemed to improve, after being discharged she was rushed to a Tacoma hospital where she was diagnosed with having developed HUS. She was transferred to Seattle Children’s Hospital and was dangerously anemic and required a blood transfusion. She spent one week at the children’s hospital and is still battling anemia and requires follow-up care.
According to the lawsuit, Cozy Valley Creamery sold raw milk, skim milk, and cream at a farm store, and in seven retail stores in Pierce, King, and Thurston counties, including shops in Olympia Food Co-ops, Olympia Local Foods in Tumwater, Mr. Community Co-op in Eatonville, several markets in Federal Way and Tacoma, and at Yelm Cooperative.