Corleggy Cheeses is recalling all batches of its raw milk cheeses due to the detection of verocytotoxigenic E coli (VTEC) in two batches of its cow’s milk cheese. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) put the notice on its website on 30 July.
The cheeses are supplied to some restaurants and retail shops. They are also sold directly at food markets. The FSAI is advising consumers not to eat the affected cheeses, which include Drumlin cheese, Corleggy cheese, Cavanbert cheese and Creeny cheese.
The timing of the finding meant the business had to withdraw its stand from The Taste of Cavan, which took place last weekend.
The FSAI has highlighted the dangers around VTEC, saying it may cause severe bloody diarrhoea and abdominal cramps, although sometimes the infection causes non-bloody diarrhoea or no symptoms.
In some groups, particularly children under five years of age and the elderly, the infection can also cause a complication called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), in which the kidneys fail.
Commenting on the case, Kevin Sheridan, Chairman of the Taste Council of Ireland, said, "Unfortunately there is always a small risk of VTEC making its way into raw milk cheeses, as well as into well water, and meat products. One of the benefits of small production artisan foods such as Corleggy Cheeses is that the scale of production and supply chain are very small and any problem products can be quickly traced and recalled with little impact on the general population.
"The Irish farmhouse and artisan sector have an excellent record in providing nutritious, wholesome and safe food to their customers."
The Department of Agriculture released some batches of the cheeses on Friday 7 August, meaning Corleggy could sell some of their unaffected cheeses at the Temple Bar Food Market in Meeting House Square the following Saturday.
Corleggy Cheeses have been handmade from raw milk on the Corleggy dairy outside Belturbet since 1985. The cheeses have won numerous national and international awards, including the Great Taste Awards Golden Fork for Small Artisan Producer of the Year in London in 2013.
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