Gehl Foods distributed nacho cheese linked to fatal botulism

GERMANTOWN — Officials with the Wisconsin company that distributed the nacho cheese dip linked to a fatal botulism outbreak in California said they're working with federal, state and local health officials to determine what caused the contamination.

Tests confirmed the botulism toxin was present in nacho cheese dip distributed by Gehl Foods and sold at a gas station in the Sacramento suburb of Walnut Grove that killed one man and left at least nine others hospitalized.

Health officials said the dispensing container and cheese dip were removed May 5th, and authorities believe the contamination posed no further risk to the public.

Officials with the Germantown company said they retested samples from the lot of cheese linked to the outbreak and it's clear of contamination. They also sent samples to an independent lab which confirmed the findings.

Below is a statement from Eric Beringause, CEO of Gehl Foods:

"We are aware of the isolated botulism outbreak connected to a gas station in Walnut Grove, California, and are praying for the individuals battling the illness and their families.

We were notified by the FDA that Gehl Foods' nacho cheese was among the products seized at the Walnut Grove 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.

We are working closely with federal, state and local health authorities to determine what caused the specific outbreak on site. According to the California Department of Public Health, there is no ongoing risk to the public.

Gehl’s facilities remain safe for food production and all of our food samples continue to test negative for any contaminants. There is no recall of Gehl's nacho cheese product."