The CDC reported yesterday that the case count in the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to Bravo Farms gouda cheese has increased by 1 to 38. A resident of Colorado (certainly no stranger to E. coli litigation) was the additional case, bringing the total in the state to 11 sickened by Bravo Farms cheese.
Certainly, however, more Colorado residents were sickened in the outbreak, as were more residents of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California, which collectively report 27 illnesses in the outbreak. Studies have found that, in outbreaks involving pathogens that typically cause bloody diarrhea, the actual number of cases may be 20 times the number of confirmed cases.
We have filed three lawsuits in the Bravo Farms cheese E. coli outbreak. We represent 10 families total, from multiple states involved in the outbreak, whose claims are in various stages of investigation.
On Nov. 5, 2010, Bravo Farms voluntarily recalled all Dutch Style Gouda cheese after a multistate investigation showed that the cheese was contaminated by E. coli 0157:H7. The product was distributed primarily through Costco in Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico in 1.5 lb. pieces. It was also distributed through various retail stores within California in 8 oz. pieces.
Then, on November 23, 2010, Bravo Farms expanded its recall to include all of its cheeses. This action followed laboratory testing by the California Department of Food and Agriculture that revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7 in cheese samples. Bravo Farms sells a variety of cheeses at retail stores throughout the US, mainly on the West coast, including Gouda, Pepper Jack, Tulare Cannonball, and several different styles and flavors of Cheddar cheese. To date, no illnesses associated with L. monocytogenes in Bravo Farm cheese have been reported.