Grassfields Cheese LLC, is conducting a voluntary recall of approximately 20,000 pounds of organic cheeses due to possible contamination with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), a bacteria that can cause serious illness in humans. E.coli infection symptoms vary by individual, but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is not very high (less than 101˚F/less than 38.5˚C). Most people get better within 5–7 days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening. Around 5–10% of those diagnosed with Shiga-toxin producing E.coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as 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. The recalled cheeses were sold from the firm’s retail store located at 14238 60th Ave., Coopersville MI 49404, to wholesale and retail customers, and to consumers nationwide via sales through the firm’s website:

This recall involves all types and sizes of organic cheeses manufactured by Grassfields currently on the market. The recalled cheeses were sold under the Grassfields brand name and include the following varieties: Gouda, Onion ‘n Garlic, Country Dill, Leyden, Edam, Lamont Cheddar, Chili Cheese, Fait Fras, Polkton Corners and Crofters.  The cheeses were sold as 12 pound wheels, Six pound half wheels, and wedges of various sizes ranging from less than 12 pounds to 1/3 pound. Wheels and half wheels are sold packaged in cheese paper and wedges are sold packaged in clear plastic cryovac. Manufacturing and distribution ceased 8/1/2016 until corrections to prevent reoccurrence can be made. Affected product can be additionally identified by the date printed immediately below the Grassfields name, this date represents the manufacturing date, and any dates prior to 8.1.16 are included in the recall.

The potential for contamination was identified during an ongoing investigation of seven cases of human illnesses occurring between March 2016 and July 2016 caused by a same type of STEC. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Geagley Laboratory confirmed the presence of STEC bacteria in a sample of Grassfields cheese collected by MDARD food and dairy inspectors.