5 people sickened from eating BC cheese contaminated with E. Coli

Nov 14 2018, 12:26 am

​The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is alerting British Columbians about a cheese potentially contaminated with the bacteria E. Coli.

The BCCDC said that a total of five people in the province have been affected by an E. coli outbreak between August and October.

The agency is asking people to discard or return to the place of purchase any Little Qualicum Cheeseworks’ Qualicum Spice cheese that they currently have at home. Products in the marketplace have a best before date up to and including April 24, 2019.

“Qualicum Spice cheese samples were tested and found to be contaminated with E. coli,” said the BCCDC. “The investigation is ongoing to determine the source and extent of contamination.”

An unpasteurized cheese, Qualicum Spice is distributed throughout BC and sold in grocery stores, farmers’ markets, wineries, restaurants and at the Little Qualicum Cheeseworks farmgate store.

“Little Qualicum Cheeseworks has voluntarily recalled the affected product,” said the BCCDC.

People who become ill from E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some may have no symptoms and some may become seriously ill and be hospitalized. Symptoms can appear within one to ten days after infection and can include:

  • Severe stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea or bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Little or no fever

If you have eaten this product but have no symptoms, there is no need to do anything.

However, if you become ill after consuming this cheese:

  1. Practice good hand washing with warm water and soap to prevent the spread of illness
  2. Drink lots of clear fluids to stay hydrated
  3. Anyone who has bloody diarrhea or is concerned about their symptoms should see a health care provider or call HealthLinkBC at 811
  4. Antibiotics and anti-diarrhea medications should not be used to treat this infection unless prescribed by your health care provider
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