25 Minn. Salmonella Cases Linked to Unpasteurized Cheese

Created: 05/20/2013 2:25 PM KSTP.com By: Leslie Dyste

At least 25 Minnesotans were sickened with salmonella linked to eating a raw cheese.

According to state health officials, the illnesses were linked to a raw Mexican-style queso fresco.

The City of Minneapolis has been investigating the source of the raw milk used to make the cheese since the first cases were detected toward the end of April.

Out of the 25 cases, 15 people were hospitalized. Everyone has since recovered from the illness.

In many of the cases there were reports of eating unpasteurized queso fresco that was either purchased or received from a person who made the cheese in a private home.

Investigators say the person made home deliveries of the cheese and may have sold the product on a Minneapolis street corner near the East Lake Street area.

Samples of the cheese collected from the cheese maker had the same strain of salmonella.

Officials say anyone who purchased or received the cheese should not eat it, and should throw it away.

Officials say this case illustrates the dangers of unpasteurized dairy products.

"It's important for people to be aware of the inherent risk of consuming any raw dairy product from any source," Dr. Carlota Medus said. "We encourage people to think carefully about those risks and know that the risks are especially high for young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems."

Salmonella bacteria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections.