Another food contamination outbreak triggers a recall

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

This time, it’s raw cheddar cheese, linked to E. coli

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports at least 10 people have been sickened by raw cheddar cheese contaminated with E. coli. The illnesses were reported in California, Utah, Colorado and Texas.

Illnesses began on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Of nine people with information available, four have been hospitalized and one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

The outbreak follows an even more serious outbreak of Listeria connected to dairy products, mostly cheese. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the contamination affects nearly 60 dairy products, including queso fresco and cotija cheese. 

The products are linked to Rizo-Lopez Foods, a wholesaler based in California. The company has recalled all of its dairy products.

Likely more people have gotten sick

In the latest outbreak, the CDC said the actual number of sick people is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. 

“This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for E. coli,” the agency said in a statement. “In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

According to the CDC, state and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate during the week before they got sick. Of the eight people interviewed so far, six reported eating RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese. 

This percentage was significantly higher than the 4.9% of respondents who reported eating any raw milk cheese in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese.

Quick and easy. Find an auto warranty partner now.