Pride and Joy Dairy recently surrendered its milk processing license, effectively giving up its ability to sell retail raw milk to consumers.
The dairy sold raw milk at the Richland Yoke’s Fresh Market, according to its website.
To regain its license, Pride and Joy will have to submit a written plan to the state Department of Agriculture detailing how it will remedy health concerns at its Toppenish facility.
The dairy’s processing license was suspended in October after new testing confirmed that a strain of salmonella found in raw milk at the Toppenish facility was an exact match for a strain that sickened two consumers of the raw milk in January. Pride and Joy also has a facility in Granger.
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At the end of October, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also tested the raw milk, confirming the earlier findings of the state Department of Agriculture and Department of Health that linked the product to the salmonella illnesses.
In surrendering its license, the dairy declined to contest the Department of Agriculture’s suspension.
The dairy still has a milk producer license, as well as its organic certification, so it can continue to produce milk, but in order to sell it, the dairy must send the milk to another facility for processing, which includes pasteurization.
Pride and Joy’s owners, Cheryl and Allen Voortman, have repeatedly disputed the findings from the state’s testing. They have sent samples of the milk to independent labs that did not find salmonella in the product.
However, Ag Department spokesman Hector Castro said, salmonella does not exist in a uniform layer throughout a given carton of raw milk; thus, it is entirely possible for a sample to come back negative despite the presence of salmonella in the milk.
An email sent to Cheryl Voortman on Friday was not immediately returned.
The Stipulation and Final Order says that for the department to consider granting a milk processing license, Pride and Joy must submit a written plan including:
▪ Specific investigative steps taken to identify the cause of the presence of pathogens in its finished, bottled retail raw milk product.
▪ Specific findings from its investigative steps taken.
▪ Specific corrections Pride and Joy has taken to reduce the risk of producing and processing adulterated retail raw milk products.
Cheryl and Allen Voortman signed the order on Nov. 2. The final signed copy was sent out by the department on Nov. 6.