Marler Clark Attorney Calls on Cheese Maker to Pay E. coli Victims’ Medical Bills

Public health officials and Costco announced yesterday that Gouda cheese sold at Costco Whole Stores has been identified as the probable source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. As many as 25 people in 5 states have been identified as part of the E. coli outbreak, according to a joint announcement by Costco, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bravo Farms, the company that makes the Dutch Style Gouda cheese that is believed to be the source of the E. coli outbreak, states on its Website that the cheese is made from raw milk. It was sold at Costco stores and distributed to Costco customers as free in-store samples. Customers who have become ill with E. coli infections are from Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada.

"Costco and Bravo Farms should have known of – and in fact had advanced warning about – the risks associated with selling cheese made from raw milk,” said Colin Caywood, food safety attorney at Marler Clark. “Recently, dairies in Washington state and Missouri that produce cheese made from raw milk have had all of their raw milk-based cheese products embargoed and seized due to contamination with pathogenic bacteria. Apparently, producers of these raw cheeses are simply unable to ensure that their products are made with all the necessary precautions against contamination, and that is a circumstance that Costco should have recognized before the company’s customers were sickened in this outbreak."

Caywood called on Bravo Farms to immediately pay medical expenses incurred by all confirmed victims of the E. coli outbreak. "E. coli outbreak victims can face medical expenses that cripple families and force them into bankruptcy,” he said. “It’s only right that Bravo Farms pay any E. coli-related medical bills for victims of this outbreak.”

MARLER CLARK is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness outbreaks. The firm has been representing victims of E. coli outbreaks nationwide for nearly 20 years, including many related to raw milk products. Marler Clark supports the website, REAL RAW MILK FACTS.