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Cheese recall expanded after multi-state E. coli outbreak

Raw Farm cheddar cheese products have been linked to a potential E. coli outbreak reported in four states.
Cheese recall expanded after multi-state E. coli outbreak
Posted at 8:18 PM, Feb 23, 2024

Another batch of cheese products has been recalled for potential contamination risks — this time, in connection to a multi-state E. Coli outbreak.

As of Feb. 16, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it's seen 10 people from four states — California, Utah, Colorado and Texas — infected with an E. coli strain that its epidemiological data tracked to Raw Farm's raw cheddar cheese. After the federal agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified the brand of the potential link between its products and the illnesses, Raw Farm voluntarily recalled three of its cheddar cheese products. 

The CDC said the illnesses ranged between Oct. 18, 2023, and Jan. 29, 2024. Of the nine cases with information available, the agency said four were hospitalized and one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a rare but serious condition that can cause blood clots and kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

However, health officials say the true number of people sickened in the outbreak is likely much higher and present in more states than reported. That's because many people recover from E. Coli without getting tested or receiving medical care. Plus, it typically takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak, the CDC said.

The cheese products involved in the Raw Farm recall are expired, but the federal agencies advise consumers not to eat or sell the products while it continues its investigation. So far, of the eight sick people it's interviewed, six reported eating the now-recalled products.

For the exact batch and barcode numbers involved in Raw Food's recall, click here.

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The announcement comes at a time of consistent recalls affecting cheese and other dairy products due to contamination risks.

Last week, the FDA urged the public not to consume dairy products made by Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. after an outbreak of listeria was linked to the cotija cheese and queso fresco used in its products. Then the agency expanded the advisory after additional companies said they used the potentially contaminated cheeses in their products, including some sold at Costco and Walmart.

The update came days after Trader Joe's announced several of its cheese products were recalled. Other big brand names included on the recall list include Bright Farms, Dole, H-E-B and 365 Whole Foods Market. A list of retailers where the products were sold also now includes Albertsons, Safeway, Sprouts and Vons. 

Federal data shows there have been 26 cheese-related listeria cases in 11 states. Of the reported cases, 23 included hospitalizations, and two ended in death.


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