Health officials have confirmed that E. coli was the primary cause of death of an elderly woman in August after she ate contaminated cheese from Gort's Farm in Salmon Arm.
The identity of the woman, a resident of the Interior Health region, has not been divulged. She was one of four individuals known to have been infected by the bacterium E. coli O157:H7 after eating Gort's gouda cheese.
Four other cases of E. coli infection have yet to be linked to the product.
The Public Health Agency of Canada cites 11 cases of E. coli O157:H7 illness under investigation; four in B.C. and seven in Alberta.
The individuals became ill between mid-July and early September.
Officials from several federal and provincial agencies are investigating the outbreak, initially reported Tuesday. Interior Health and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control advised retailers and anyone who purchased Gort's cheese to discard the products. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is monitoring a recall of all raw-milk cheeses from Gort's
The farm's co-owner, Kathy Wikkerink, was in tears after learning of the link to the death, saying the business is sorry and is trying to find the cause of the bacteria.
She says they will gladly apologize to the family of the unnamed person who died, but they can't undo the death.
"We have made that plea, if that family wants to communicate with us, we will gladly apologize in person to them. But I can't undo it, God is in control, not man."