US: Raw cheddar cheese linked to multi-state E. coli outbreak

By Teodora Lyubomirova

- Last updated on GMT

Getty/CHIARI_VFX
Getty/CHIARI_VFX

Related tags Raw milk

A California-based raw dairy producer has issued a voluntary recall after several consumers reported purchasing the company’s raw cheddar cheese before falling ill.

US authorities are investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli after 10 people from 4 different states became ill. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that 10 bacterial samples matched with one another on a national database, meaning they likely shared a common source of infection.

rawfarmcheese
Raw Farm says its cheddar is made of whole raw milk which is never heated beyond 102°F (around 38°C) in order to preserve protein, enzymes, and 'beneficial bacteria that aid in the digestion of dairy'. Image via FDA

Six of the eight people interviewed by state and local public health officials about the foods they ate, stated they had consumed raw cheddar cheese made by Fresno-based Raw Farm LLC before becoming unwell.

This led the FDA and CDC to contact the producer over worries that the cheese could have been the source of the infection, though no product samples or products available for sale have tested positive for the bacteria.

The CDC warned that while just 10 people have been linked with the outbreak so far, the true number of affected consumers could be much higher since most people who fall ill recover without medical care. Of the 10 people linked with the outbreak, four had been hospitalized. The youngest affected is a two year-old, and the oldest – 58 according to CDC data.

According to CDC, most people affected by E. coli experience severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, with symptoms starting 3-4 days after ingesting the bacteria; recovery takes 5 to 7 days without treatment, though some people may develop kidney problems and require hospitalization.

Raw Farm has recalled the following products:

1075    835204000156            Raw Cheddar Cheese - Pound Block 16        RAW FARM    20231113-1

1050    835204001177            Raw Cheddar Cheese - Half Pound Block    8          RAW FARM    20231113-1

1080    835204001184            Raw Cheddar Cheese - Half Pound Shred    8          RAW FARM    20240116

Raw Farm-branded cheddar is sold nationwide, with consumers reporting illness having purchased cheese at Sprouts Farmers Market and Bristol Farms. Consumers have been warned not to eat any Raw Farm-branded raw cheddar cheese; throw away or return products already purchased, and disinfect any surfaces that may have touched the cheese.

Consumers who have symptoms should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care, FDA has said.

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