Grassfields Cheese LLC of Coopersville, MI, is recalling about 20,000 pounds of organic cheeses due to possible contamination with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). The recalled products have been linked to seven cases of E. coli infection. The family-owned company stated that it was voluntarily recalling the cheeses “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a recall notice issued Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “The potential for contamination was identified during an ongoing investigation of seven cases of human illnesses occurring between March and July 2016 caused by a same type of STEC,” according to the recall notice. The department’s Geagley Laboratory confirmed the presence of STEC bacteria in a sample of Grassfields cheese collected by state food and dairy inspectors. The recall involves all types and sizes of organic cheeses manufactured by Grassfields between Dec. 1, 2015, through June 1, 2016, including Gouda, Onion ‘n Garlic, Country Dill, Leyden, Edam, Lamont Cheddar, Chili Cheese, Fait Fras, Polkton Corners and Crofters. The cheeses were sold as wheels, half wheels, and wedges of various sizes. The recalled cheeses were sold to wholesale and retail customers from the firm’s retail store at 14238 60th Ave. in Coopersville and to consumers nationwide through the firm’s website. Consumers who have purchased any of the recalled products are urged to return them to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may contact Grassfields Cheese at (616) 997-8251 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT or by emailing to Grassfieldscheese@gmail.com. Symptoms of E. coli infection vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is not very high (less than 101 degrees F. While most persons get better within five to seven days, about 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with STEC E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Signs that a person is developing HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. Persons with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working and they may develop other serious problems. Most persons with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.
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