Gehl Foods’ nacho cheese tied to botulism cases

Company says facilities remain safe for food production

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:23 pm

Germantown-based Gehl Foods LLC is being connected to an outbreak of botulism in Sacramento County, California that has resulted in one death.

Eric Beringause, Gehl Foods chief executive officer, issued a statement saying the company was aware of the outbreak and was notified by the Food and Drug Administration that Gehl Foods’ nacho cheese was among the products seized at a Walnut Grove, California gas station during inspection.

“We immediately retested samples from the relevant lot of cheese, and it remains clear of any contamination. To ensure the integrity of those test results, we also sent multiple samples to an independent lab, which confirmed our findings,” the statement said.

The California Department of Health said it has tested and confirmed that nacho cheese sold at the gas station was the cause of the 10 reported cases of botulism. The cheese was removed on May 5 and the CDPH said there is no continuing risk to the public.

Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH director and state public health officer, said there are still unanswered questions about the outbreak, but it should also serve as a reminder to be vigilant about food safety.

Beringause added the company is working with federal, state and local health authorities to determine the specific outbreak on site and the company is “praying for the individuals battling the illness and their families.”

The statements concluded by saying Gehl’s facilities remain safe for food production and there is no recall of Gehl’s nacho cheese product.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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