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Coles recalls cheese after discovery of deadly contaminant

An urgent nationwide recall has been issued for a popular Coles brand cheese after traces of E.Coli were detected.

Small batches of Coles Finest Australian Organic Washed Rind Raw have tested positive for the potentially fatal contaminant.

While the 500g product has been pulled immediately from supermarket shelves, it had been available for sale online and in-store throughout Victoria and Tasmania since December 14.

“Customers must not consume this product,” Coles said in a statement on Monday. It also urged those who’d already eaten the cheese and felt ill, to get help.

Coles Finest Australian Organic Washed Rind Raw on a cheese board.
Coles has recalled its own brand Finest Australian Organic Washed Rind Raw after small batches were found to contain traces of E.Coli. Source: Coles

“Anyone concerned about their health should seek medical advice. Coles is liaising with the suppler and the regulators regarding further steps.”

The supermarket has apologised for “any inconvenience.”

Potentially serious health implications

While most strains of E.Coli are harmless, E.Coli bacteria can cause serious illness, according to Health Direct. Symptoms can include diarrhoea, a urinary tract infection, pneumonia, meningitis in newborn babies and inflammation of the gallbladder. E.Coli can also cause haemolytic uraemic syndrome which damages the blood cells and can cause the kidneys to fail.

"Patients can develop blood clotting conditions and kidney failure that may result in death," the Food Safety Information Council says.

People are urged to see a doctor if they’re experiencing diarrhoea that is severe or has blood in it, a high fever with diarrhoea, dehydration, or signs of a urinary tract infection.

The affected cheese contains a best before date between 14 December 2022 up to and including 1 February 2023. No other Coles Finest cheese or products have been impacted by this recall.

It comes just days after a nationwide recall was launched for baby spinach after the plant was contaminated with a weed called thornapple. Hundreds of people across Australia reported cases of poisoning with symptoms including blurred vision, a dry mouth, abdominal cramps and significant hallucinations.

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