Costco is warning consumers not to eat Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda cheese sold in its stores because it has been linked with an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 25 people in five states, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The California farm said in a statement that it is working with Costco and investigators and has recalled all of its Dutch-style Gouda out of Costco stores. Consumers should not eat the cheese -- made with whole raw milk -- and either discard it in a sealed package or return it to Costco for a refund.
"They have isolated a small percentage of this Gouda that may be suspect," Bravo Farms said in its statement e-mailed to Consumer Ally. "The Gouda went to Costco stores in San Diego and some Costco's outside California. It went to no other stores. We have reviewed all of our documentation and are working with the government agencies to assist them in their investigation. We at Bravo Farms work diligently to abide by all local and national safety requirements and hope to resolve this as quickly and safely as possible. We are working closely with Costco to voluntarily recall all Dutch style Gouda out of Costco stores, and a phone call was made to everyone who purchased this variety."
Costco sold the cheese in its stores and also offered it for in-store tasting in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. The FDA said as of Thursday (Nov. 4) there were 11 E.coli cases in Arizona, eight in Colorado, three in New Mexico, two in Nevada and one in California -- with nine hospitalized and one possible case of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure connected to E.coli infections.
FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey said a cause of the contamination hasn't been determined. Using card records, Costco contacted each consumer who bought the cheese. The FDA said consumers who choose to throw it away, should put it in a closed plastic bag and place it in a sealed trash can to prevent people or animals from eating the cheese.
An E.coli infection can cause symptoms including diarrhea and cramps. Most people recover from an infection in about a week, but serious cases can also cause kidney failure.
Raw milk cheeses -- typically gourmet, artisan cheese -- from two other dairies have been recalled in recent months because of possible contamination by Listeria and Staphylococcus bacteria
Costco recalls cheese linked to E.coli outbreak