E. coli outbreak sickens 11 people, linked to raw milk cheese, CDC says

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, February 29, 2024
Raw Farm cheese linked to E. coli outbreak
The CDC is warning consumers about an E. coli outbreak. If you have Raw Farm cheddar cheese in your fridge, don't eat it.

CHICAGO -- At least eleven people have been sickened by E. coli in a multistate outbreak linked to raw milk cheese, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a food safety alert.

While the outbreak was first announced on Feb. 16, the CDC updated their alert Wednesday. Five of the people infected have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

The CDC said multiple people who are infected said they ate RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese.

The CDC is investigating the outbreak and, in the meantime, has advised consumers not to eat RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese in original and jalapeño flavors, both in blocks and in shredded packages. RAW FARM is working with the US Food and Drug Administration and is recalling its products, the CDC said.

According to RAW FARM, the cheese is made from whole raw milk. It is sold nationwide.

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Raw milk is milk from cows or other animals that has not been pasteurized. Unpasteurized products can carry dangerous bacteria such as listeria, salmonella and E. coli, according to the CDC.

E. coli bacteria live in the intestines of people and animals. People who are exposed to the kind of E. coli known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli can get cramps, bloody diarrhea and kidney failure. About 265,000 infections of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli occur in the US every year.

The CDC advises that if you have RAW FARM cheese, you should not eat it and either throw it away or return it to the store where you purchased it. You should also wash items and surfaces that may have come in contact with the cheese in hot soapy water or a dishwasher.

Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea and a fever of higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, diarrhea that lasts for more than three days, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and inability to keep liquids down, signs of dehydration, fatigue and loss of pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids.

A recall has not yet been issued. An investigation by the CDC is ongoing.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report