California Health Officials Warn Against Mexican-Style Soft Cheese Following Rise in Salmonella Infections

Mar 21, 2016 06:29 AM EDT | By Chandan Das

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The dramatic increase in Salmonella infections since 2015 has led the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to issue a warning to the public last week regarding the consumption of illegally produced Mexican-type soft cheeses, which are mainly sold by street vendors.

According to CDPH director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith, all such cheeses are usually manufactured using raw, unpasteurized milk. "Moreover, it has been found that they are made in unhygienic conditions," an article on CDPH website quoted Dr Smith as saying. The CDPH director further said that they were worried as there has been a notable increase in incidences of Salmonella infections, especially in the Hispanic community.

The report further stated that a minimum of 50 people have been infected with three dissimilar stains of Salmonella since November 2015. While no one has succumbed to the disease so far, many patients had to be hospitalized. Currently, the health officials are investigating into the cases. During the initial probe, many patients admitted of having consumed the probably unpasteurized cheese made in the Mexican-style from street vendors before falling ill.

Meanwhile, the CDPH stated that the symptoms associated with Salmonella infection comprise fever, diarrhea, and cramps in the abdomen. The health officials have also warned that the diarrhea may even be bloody. Although most patients recuperate in anything between four and seven days even with no medical intervention, the condition of some patients may become complicated and they need to be hospitalized, Food Safety News reported.

In fact, small children, aged people and those with damaged immune systems are most vulnerable to develop more severe illness. Hence, the CDPH has advised the consumers experiencing any adverse effects following the consumption of soft cheeses should essentially check with their physician or health care professionals.

At the same time, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has advised consumers only to purchase manufactured by licensed producers and those that are stored in refrigerators in the retail stores.

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