May 24, 2009: Queso Fresco Source Of Utah Salmonella Cases

Utah public health officials have gotten to the bottom of a Salmonella Newport outbreak that has sickened at least seven people in the Salt Lake Valley.

The culprit, is a homemade Mexican-style soft cheese, known as queso fresco; and the do it yourself cheese maker, used raw milk from a neighborhood cow to make the soft cheese.

It is not clear whether the cheese was given or sold to neighbors, however, public health officials have indicated that it is against state law to sell homemade products that are potentially dangerous, door to door.  In addition they caution that other foodborne pathogens such as Listeria, Campylobacter, E. coli, and Brucella can spread through contaminated queso fresco.

Utah public health officials are also investigating a Campylobacter food poisoning outbreak which may also be associated with contaminated cheese made form raw milk.

Utah residents with questions can contact the Utah Department of Health at 801-538-6191 or the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food at 801-538-7156.

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