Two Dozen Sick After Consuming Cheese Tainted With E. Coli

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

More than two dozen people have become ill after consuming cheese tainted with E. Coli 0157:H7 that was sold at Costco stores in five states, including Arizona, Colorado, California, New Mexico and Nevada.  Arizona health officials believe that some of the illnesses may be related to “Cheese Road Shows” that were held by Costco in October.  In these shows, cheese samples were offered in stores, and people were also allowed to make a purchase.

The cheese believed to be linked to the illnesses is Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda cheese.  Costco Wholesale Corporation, along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC are warning consumers not to eat this cheese if they have purchased it and have it in their homes.  So far, 9 people have been hospitalized and 1 person is believed to have HUS or hemolytic uremic syndrome.  HUS can shut down kidneys, and puts individuals at risk for serious health problems.  It most commonly occurs in children under the age of 5 and in older adults.  A breakdown of the illnesses by state thus far:

Arizona – 11, California – 1, Colorado – 8, New Mexico – 3, Nevada – 2.  There have been no deaths related to this outbreak to date.

Costco has removed the cheese from shelves, and is advising consumers to dispose of it or return any remaining cheese to their local Costco for a full refund.  They are also checking card purchase records in order to notify customers who may have purchased the cheese by phone of the situation.

Questions or concerns regarding this outbreak may be directed to 888-INFO-FDA.

E. Coli food poisoning frequently produces mild symptoms that may include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and nausea.  While these symptoms may last only a few days, some individuals are at a high risk of serious complications.  These individuals include very young children, the elderly or frail, and those with a weakened immune system.  Contact your doctor if you believe you have become ill due to E. Coli, and report it to local health authorities.  You should also consider contacting an E. Coli Attorney to assist you in determining whether you have a solid case to pursue.

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