Cheese panic in Kane County | Bleader

Cheese panic in Kane County

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The Trib reports state public health officials suspect an "illegal Mexican-style cheese manufacturer" is responsible for 32 cases of salmonella poisoning since January 2006. Investigators isolated salmonella Newport from a sample of unlabeled cheese seized in an Aurora carniceria, and Kane County Health Department deputy director Paul Kuehnert is ready to damn all queso.

'"Anyone that has white, Mexican-style cheeses in their possession should immediately dispose of those cheeses. It may not be safe, and it may make them ill," he said.

"We're not saying this [salmonella-tainted cheese] is 100 percent the cause of our illness outbreak in Kane County," he said. But "it looks very likely. ... 'We are issuing this warning particularly for cheeses that may have been unlabeled or are questionably labeled and were bought either from street vendors or Hispanic stores,' he said."

Sounding a bit less like a Minuteman with a tummyache, the health dept Web site specifically mentions queso fresco and cotija as possible culprits, and allows that "Legitimate, wholesome Mexican-style cheeses are available in the refrigerated case at retail stores and authenticated by label information."

Whew.

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