Washington State E. coli outbreak no longer linked to organic produce
A local yogurt brand has been identified as a "likely link" to the recent E. coli outbreak in Washington State, according to a press release from the state's Department of Health (DOH).
Pure Eire Dairy is working with the state Department of Agriculture to identify and recall all affected products. Anyone who has PCC Community Market brand yogurt at home should not eat it and should throw it away, the press release stated.
This announcement comes after a report that the infection was thought to be previously linked to organic produce.
The multi-county outbreak now includes 11 confirmed cases, including six children under the age of 10, infected with bacteria that have been genetically linked. Seven people have been hospitalized, while three have developed serious complications from the infection.
According to a local newsource, Seattle food safety attorney Bill Marler has filed two lawsuits involving this E. coli outbreak.
The suit alleges Pure Eire Dairy “was negligent in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of a food product that was adulterated with E. coli O157:H7, not fit for human consumption".
“Pasteurization typically takes care of issues like this. we don’t know what happened here,” Hector Castro, a spokesperson with the Washington State Department of Agriculture was reported as saying. “It can definitely be challenging narrowing down exactly what may have caused a particular situation to arise."
The Department of Health said Monday that it expects more cases. Identifying cases can take two weeks or even more, from collecting samples to going through the testing and sequencing process.
DOH and partner agencies are continuing to test food samples and gather case information in this ongoing investigation. DOH will provide more information as it becomes available.