September 26, 2016

FDA Updates Grassfields Cheese E. coli Outbreak and Recall Info

The FDA updated information about the Grassfields Cheese E. coli outbreak and recall on August 8, 2016. That company is voluntarily recalling 20,000 pounds of organic cheeses due to possible contamination with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria.

Cheese Sampler

The recall is for all tyeps and sizes of organic cheeses manufactured by Grassfields that is currently on the market. The recalled products were sold under the Grassfields name and include: Gouda, Onion ‘n Garlic, Country Dill, Leyden, Edam, Lamont Cheddar, Chili Cheese, Fait Fras, Polkton Corners and Crofters.  The cheeses were sold as 12 pound wheels, Six pound half wheels, and wedges of various sizes ranging from less than 12 pounds to 1/3 pound. Wheels and half wheels are sold packaged in cheese paper and wedges are sold packaged in clear plastic cryovac.

The facility stopped manufacturing and distributing the cheeses on August 1, 2016 and will remain closed until corrections to prevent a recurrence of contamination are made.

An E. coli outbreak that sickened at least seven people triggered the recall and investigation. Those people got sick between March 2016 and July 2016 with the same type of STEC bacteria. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Geagley Laboratory confirmed the presence of STEC bacteria in a sample of Grassfields cheese collected by MDARD food and dairy inspectors.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe stomach and abdominal cramps, vomiting, a mild fever, and diarrhea that is bloody and/or watery. Symptoms usually begin three or four days after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria. About 5 to 10% of those who contract this illness develop a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

The symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, fatigue, lethargy, losing pink color in cheeks and the lower eyelids, easy bruising, a skin rash, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. Anyone suffering these symptoms should see a doctor immediately and should be hospitalized because of the possibility of loss of kidney function.

If you purchased any of those cheeses, do not eat them. Throw them away in a sealed package so other people and animals can’t get at them, or return them to the place of purchase for a refund. the cheeses were sold from the company’s retail store at 14238 60th Avenue in Coopersville, Michigan, and to consumers nationwide via internet sales.

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