After E. coli Outbreak, Bravo Farms Resumes Production

Late last year, we reported that following a recall of its Dutch Style Gouda cheese, Bravo Farms expanded a prior recall to include all of its cheeses. This expansion of the original recall followed an <"">E. coli outbreak that originated with the recalled Gouda. Now, Bravo Farms is resuming its cheese manufacturing, said the Valley Voice Newspaper.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 37 cases of E. coli were linked to Bravo Farms cheese in five western states. Some people were sickened with the dangerous, sometimes deadly, food borne infection after tasting the cheese at promotional events held from October 5th through November 1st at Costco stores in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California, according to a Costco press release. The CDC said 15 of the patients were hospitalized, including one with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially fatal kidney complication. Patients ranged in age from one to 81, with late October as the latest illness onset. No deaths were reported.

Follow-up testing conducted at Bravo Farm’s factory revealed not only E. coli, but Listeria monocytogenes, according to Bravo, reported My Desert previously. In addition to Gouda, Bravo Farms sells pepper jack, Tulare Cannonball, and a range of different cheddars; all were recalled.

The outbreak involves a rare strain of E. coli O157:H7 that the CDC has never seen before in its PulseNet database, a national pathogen-sub-typing network.

On November 4, federal officials and Costco stores warned customers not to eat a raw milk Gouda cheese made by Bravo Farms, based in Traver, California.

E. coli matching the outbreak strain was found in samples from two opened packages from two different patients’ homes, and preliminary tests from an unopened package from a Costco store were positive for E coli O157:H7, the CDC said. Also, tests on samples from opened packages from two more patients revealed E coli O157:H7.

Jon Van Ryn, chief operations officer and father of the company’s owner, Jonathan Van Ryn, said that the firm has resumed cheese production—about 2,000 pounds of cheese daily—after testing by federal and state inspectors revealed no traces of Listeria in the fully dismantled and cleaned facility and equipment, said the Valley Voice Newspaper.

“We’ve been given the green light” to resume operations, said Van Ryn, quoted the Valley Voice Newspaper.

Most people infected with E. coli O157:H7 develop diarrhea and abdominal cramps, but some illnesses may last longer and can be more severe. While most people recover within a week, some may develop a severe infection. Listeria monocytogenes is a dangerous organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

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