The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is not saying whether E. coli 0157:H7 has actually been located in the cheese production facility.
Tuesday afternoon, the CFIA replied to questions from the Observer by stating: “The CFIA has conducted a food safety investigation at Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm to assess how and where contamination may have occurred. The CFIA will issue a final report of its investigation as soon as a full analysis of findings has been completed.”
Similarly, the BC Centre for Disease Control offers no time line or information. “BCCDC and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continue to work together on the investigation.”
In the meantime, Salmon Arm residents continue to express their sympathy and support for Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm and the Wikkerink family who owns it.
At DeMille’s Farm Market, which has carried Gort’s cheese for more than two decades, owner Brad DeMille said while he will reimburse customers who have proof of purchase with returned cheese, he won’t be submitting any credits to Gort’s.
“I think it adds insult to injury. They’re going through a challenge; I think they can survive this, but they need all the help they can get.”
He said DeMille’s will be ordering cheese as soon as the farm is able to supply it again.
“I feel so horrible for them. It’s so beyond their control. CFIA is still looking for the original cause. It could happen to any one of us. What if somebody gets sick from an apple?” he remarked, adding, “They have my support 100 per cent.”
At Hanna & Hanna Orchards, co-owner James Hanna said the situation is tragic, and he hopes the cheese farm will be able to overcome this.
“My heart goes out to them.”