On October 6, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) suspended the milk processing plant license for Pride and Joy Dairy Inc. due to ongoing concerns about Salmonella in its retail raw milk product. In September, WSDA's laboratory detected Salmonella in samples from the dairy taken as part of the routine testing of all licensed raw milk dairy operations. Isolates from those samples were submitted to Department of Health for further testing, resulting in confirmed linkage to earlier Salmonella illnesses.
According to the WSDA release, the milk processing plant, based in Toppenish, Wash., still has milk producer licenses, allowing it to ship milk to other processing facilities for pasteurization, but without an active processing license, Pride and Joy Dairy may not legally bottle and sell raw milk on the retail market. WSDA suspended the milk processing plant license for Pride and Joy after tests by the state Department of Health confirmed that the Salmonella detected in the milk samples matched the unique strain, Salmonella Dublin, identified in illnesses that hospitalized two people this past January. WSDA has advised consumers to avoid drinking any Pride and Joy retail raw milk products.
Although Pride and Joy is complying with WSDA’s request to cease production, it has posted a statement to the home page of its website disputing the test results, stating that WSDA's facility tests of the last seven consecutive months found no Salmonella in its milk, and that: “We independently tested our milk with the same expiration date of 10/4/17, by UHS Labs in Jerome, ID using the same exact tests that WSDA used and all of our tests came up negative for salmonella. Neither we or WSDA have received any complaints or reports of illness from any milk with the October 4th pull date. At this time we are not able to find a problem, all test results from samples we have sent out have been negative and the facility passed our last inspection on Sept 18th by the WSDA but are still looking to uncover any potential problem.”
WSDA previously advised Pride and Joy to recall its products with best-by dates of Oct. 4 and later, but the dairy initially declined. It subsequently initiated a market withdrawal on its own of certain products. WSDA also issued a Notice of Correction to Pride and Joy on Oct. 5 due to the presence of pathogens in their milk. The dairy has until Oct. 16 to request an appeal of the license suspension.