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More e.coli cases linked to gouda cheese
The news just keeps getting worse.
As of Monday, the Public Health Agency of Canada issued a notice that seven more cases of E. coli-caused illness linked to Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm in Salmon Arm are being investigated, bringing the total to 21.
Nine of those cases are in B.C., including a Vernon woman who died in August from the illness, while there is one case each in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec.
The notice states: “There is currently no indication of widespread risk to Canadians. However, E. coli O157:H7 can pose a serious public health risk. Additional cases of illness may be identified and linked to this outbreak in the future.”
At Gort’s farm, the Wikkerink family is understandably devastated.
Co-owner Kathy Wikkerink says one relief was talking to the family of Cory Van Der Linde, the 84-year-old Vernon woman who died Aug. 19.
“They contacted us. They have forgiven us, they hold no grudges. That was good to know,” she said.
With 15 varieties recalled, just seven of Gort’s cheeses remain unaffected.
The farm has laid off three of its six paid employees, leaving just three employees, along with Gary and Kathy Wikkerink and their four children who reside at home to keep things running.
“We have to do what we have to do. There’s no more information (from government agencies) with what we have to do with the farm,” said Kathy Wikkerink.
“It’s hard because you don’t know what they’re going to do. We can’t make any plans.”