May 29, 2020

Three in Tulare County, CA Sick with Salmonella from Cheese

According to the Tulare County Public Health Department’s Facebook page, three people in that county in Califonria have become ill with Salmonella from eating cheese purchased from an unlicensed cheese maker. A vendor in Woodlake is apparently selling these cheeses door-to-door. Leftover cheese was tested and was contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

SalmonellaThe vendor has not been identified and may still be selling cheese. It is a violation of the California Retail Food Code to sell food without a permit, and a violation to make cheese in with no permit.

The types of cheeses that may be contaminated are queso fresco, panela, queso seco, asadero, queso Oaxaca, queso Cotija, and crema. The products may be made with unpasteurized, or raw milk, that is often contaminated with pathogenic bacteria.

Public Health Office Dr. Karen Haught said in a statement, “do not purchase cheese from an unlicensed manufacturer, unlicensed vendors at swap meets, door-t0-door vendors, or on the street.” Cheese should only be purchased when it is sold from a licensed facility such as a supermarket or farmers market. It should also be factory sealed. Raw milk cheeses are a source of pathogenic bacteria, and many outbreaks have occurred from this product over the years.

The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, stomach and abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Serious complications of this type of infection include colitis, reactive arthritis, meningitis, and bacteremia, which is a life threatening infection of the blood.

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