Bravo Farms Gouda Cheese E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Southwestern US (2010)


Marler Clark represents several victims of the 2010 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that was traced to Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda Cheese sold and sampled at Costco Wholesale stores throughout the Southwestern United States. The law firm is pursuing lawsuits and legal claims on behalf of victims of this Gouda cheese E. coli outbreak, and has filed three lawsuits against Bravo Farms to date.

The Gouda Cheese E. coli Outbreak

In early November, 2010, Costco, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration announced that Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda Cheese sold and sampled at Costco Wholesale stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico was the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. At least 38 people in those five states became ill with a unique strain of E. coli O157:H7 that had never before been seen in the CDC's PulseNet database.

The public health investigation into the outbreak began in mid-October, as patients with E. coli O157:H7 infections were diagnosed in various states where the Costco "cheese road show" took place. Most of the victims either purchased the Bravo Farms Gouda cheese or sampled it at Costco stores. Arizona and Colorado reported the most outbreak cases: Arizona (19), Colorado (11), California (3), New Mexico (3), and Nevada (2).

In a remarkable move, U.S. marshals and Food and Drug Administration agents raided Bravo Farms and seized the gouda, along with piles of edam and blocks of white cheddar on January 27, 2011. Investigators seized more than 80,000 pounds of cheese with the intent of disposing of it as garbage and reported numerous food safety violations at the Bravo Farms cheese manufacturing facility.

Additionally, 15 of 24 cheese samples collected tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, a pathogenic organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in children and the elderly. The samples came from four different types of Bravo Farms cheese, including cheddar, edam, gouda, and jack. And one sample, a cheddar cheese, tested positive for E. coli O157:H7.

Lawsuits filed against cheese producer

The Marler Clark law firm filed its first lawsuit against Bravo Farms LLC on November 8, 2010. The firm filed 2 more E. coli lawsuits against the Gouda cheese manufacturer on November 10, 2010. Marler Clark represented several other victims of the outbreak.

The firm represented 9 victims of the E. coli outbreak from Arizona, Nevada, California and Colorado. All cases were successfully resolved.