Food Safety Magazine

News | September 20, 2013

One Dead, Eleven Ill in Canada after Consuming E. coli-Tainted Cheese

By Staff

One elderly woman has died and 11 other individuals have fallen ill from after consuming raw milk cheese from a small artisan cheese farm in Salmon Arm, BC, that may have been contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) yesterday updated the public warning that it originally issued on Sept. 17, adding Gort's Gouda Cheese Farm brand Mild Gouda Cheese to the list of cheeses being recalled by the manufacturer due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination. The recall applies to cheese products bearing lot codes 122 to 138, sold online, at the farm and elsewhere in British Columbia and Alberta between May 27 and Sept. 14.

The CFIA said the recall "is the result of an ongoing food safety investigation initiated as a result of a recent outbreak investigation. There may be recalls of additional products as the investigation at this facility continues." 

The CFIA also warned retailers and the public that some product packages may not bear a lot code or indicate that the cheese was made with raw milk. Because the affected product may also have been sold clerk-served from deli counters with or without a label or coding, CFIA advised consumers who are unsure if they have purchased the affected product to contact their retailer.

The Canadian Press reported Sept. 19 that the co-owner of Gort's Gouda Cheese Farm "tearfully apologized" for the E. coli outbreak, saying, "We are so sorry and we are trying to get to the source of the E. coli, but we don't know the source and we don't know what happened."