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Illegally manufactured cheese causing illness

Published: Monday, March 31, 2014 11:34 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014 11:58 p.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck is warning people about the dangers of consuming illegally manufactured cheeses. Health officials are reporting about 100 cases of salmonellosis in 13 counties believed to be linked to consumption of an illegally manufactured Mexican-style cheese.

A sample of the cheese obtained from the home of a person who became ill tested positive for salmonella. IDPH is working with local health departments to identify the manufacturer of the contaminated cheese.

According to Jane Lux, public health administrator, the DeKalb County Health Department has had no reports of illness believed to be associated with this cheese. However, anyone with information about illegally manufactured cheese should contact the DeKalb County Health Department.

Without this information, it will not be possible to prevent further illnesses. People who become ill after eating illegally manufactured cheese, should keep the cheese for possible testing.

Many cases in Illinois have been reported by people who said they ate Mexican-style cheese obtained from worksites, including factories, and at train stations, from street vendors and from relatives and friends. The cheese is not labeled and is often wrapped in aluminum foil.

IDPH recommends that people who have Mexican-style cheese in their home, but cannot clearly identify the product was made by a licensed or regulated manufacturer, should not eat it.

For more information about salmonella log on to www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbsam.htm.

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