PARKSVILLE, B.C- The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is warning provincial residents to throw out a cheese product made by a Parksville company.

According to the BCCDC, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks’ Qualicum Spice cheese with a best before date up to and including Apr. 24, 2019 should be thrown out, after tests found samples contaminated with E. coli.

An investigation is underway to figure out the origin and extent of the contamination.

Five people have gotten sick from the outbreak between August and October.

The cheese is sold throughout B.C- in farmers markets, restaurants, wineries, grocery stores, and the company’s store in Parksville. Qualicum Spice is unpasteurized, and the company has voluntarily recalled the product.

Little Qualicum Cheeseworks produces several other types of dairy products, and no other products are being recalled at this time. Consumers do not need to discard them.

“People who become ill from E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms,” read the notice from the BCCDC Some may have no symptoms and some may become seriously ill and be hospitalized. The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after infection:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • diarrhea or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • little or no fever

If you have eaten this product but have no symptoms, there is no need to do anything. If you become ill after consuming this cheese:

  • Practice good hand washing with warm water and soap to prevent the spread of illness
  • Drink lots of clear fluids to stay hydrated
  • Anyone who has bloody diarrhea or is concerned about their symptoms should see a health care provider or call HealthLinkBC at 811
  • Antibiotics and anti-diarrhea medications should not be used to treat this infection unless prescribed by your health care provider

If you have consumed Qualicum Spice cheese and become ill, consult a health care provider.