The BC Centre for Disease Control says that this Little Qualicum Cheese product is linked to five case of E. coli across B.C. (BC CDC)

B.C. cheese linked to 5 E. coli cases

People are asked to throw out or return ‘Qualicum Spice’ cheese

Five people in B.C. have gotten sick after consuming products from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, prompting a warning from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

The centre said Tuesday that anyone who bought the company’s Qualicum Spice cheese to return it or throw it out.

Five people were affected by an E. coli outbreak thought to be connected to the cheese, sometime between August and October.

The centre said Qualicum Spice is an unpasteurized cheese distributed across B.C. at grocery stores, farmers’ markets, wineries, restaurants and at the Little Qualicum Cheeseworks farmgate store.

“We got the news late last night and we’re very concerned,” said Little Qualicum Cheeseworks co-owner Raymond Gourlay. “Certainly it’s not good news. It’s a big financial hit if we can’t sell this product in the future and it’s sad to be faced with a compromise of public trust.”

Gourlay said the company is “deeply troubled” to hear that anyone may have become sick from their cheese.

“We’re working closely with the BC Centre for Disease Control to determine (how the product became contaminated), and we’re trying to isolate it really quickly.

At this point, Gourlay said the company has no reason to believe any other products are contaminated.

Gourlay said the company has a “long history of having healthy safe products.

“We encourage all customers of the product to bring it back to the appropriate retailer. If it was purchased from us, we’re issuing refunds directly from the farm,” Gourlay said.

The symptoms of E. coli are:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • diarrhea or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Anyone who shows any of those symptoms should visit their health care provider.


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