We’ve just confirmed 11 cases of E. coli in AZ. Our cases appear to be part of a multi-state outbreak that’s associated with Gouda cheese sold at Costco. Maricopa (5 stores), Pima (1 store) and Yavapai counties (1 store) are involved with the investigation and the suspect cheese has been held in back stock until testing is completed. Costco is cooperating with the investigation and is making it easy to return the cheese. You can check out the FDA media release for information about the investigation and some other basic information for consumers.
Our lab is testing samples of suspect cheese right now. Normally we could get results within a few hours, but cheese is full of all kinds of natural bacteria and we can’t run the typical rapid PCR test because of the competing DNA. Our culture test takes 72 hours, so we’ll know whether these cheeses are truly contaminated by Monday.