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Agency determines E. coli infection definitely from Gort's cheese
A public health notice issued Monday states that Gort's cheese has been definitely pinpointed as the source of contamination in E. coli illnesses.
The Public Health Agency of Canada states that, along with its health and food safety partners, it is now investigating 21 cases of E. coli O157:H7 illness; nine in British Columbia, nine in Alberta and one each in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec.
The notice reads: "These individuals became ill between mid-July and early September. Most people who become ill from E.coli bacteria will recover within five to 10 days."
"Certain contaminated cheese products manufactured by Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, have been identified as the source of the illnesses. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a Health Hazard Alert warning the public not to consume the affected product. Should additional products be recalled as part of the ongoing food safety investigation, the CFIA will immediately inform the public."
"There is currently no indication of widespread risk to Canadians. However, E. coli O157:H7 can pose a serious public health risk. Additional cases of illness may be identified and linked to this outbreak in the future."
"Do not eat any of the recalled product. Check your refrigerator and if you have any of the recalled product in your home, return it to the point of purchase or throw it out."
"We want to remind Canadians to follow proper hygiene and safe food handling and preparation practices to prevent the spread of all food-borne illness including E.coli. For example:
- Wash your hands before and after cooking;
- Keep knives, counters and cutting boards clean;
- Keep raw meats separate from other foods when you store them; and
- Refrigerate or freeze left-overs promptly."
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s list of Gort’s Gouda Farm cheeses that have been recalled is as follows: Mild Gouda Cheese bearing a red "Raw" sticker; Medium Gouda Cheese Quaso, de Prato; Aged Quaso de Prato; X Aged Quaso de Prato; Cumin Quaso de Prato; Greek Blend: Onion, Paprika, Parsley, Pepper, Thyme, Oregano Quaso de Prato; Gouda Cheese with Jalapeno Peppers Quaso de Prato; Smoked Gouda Cheese Quaso de Prato; Gouda Cheese with Red Peppers, Ginger, Onions and Garlic Quaso de Prato; Peppercorn, Ginger, Paprika, Onion and Garlic Quaso de Prato; Parsley, Celery, Onion, Garlic, Dill and Chives Quaso de Prato; Maasdammer; Beaufort; Parmesan and Mazouda.
The recall notes the products with lot codes 122 to 138 were sold in both provinces and through Internet sales from May 27 to Sept. 14.
Some of the packaging may not have the lot code or indicate it was made from raw milk, particularly those sold from deli counters where clerks package it.