CDC announces E coli outbreak tied to raw milk cheese, more charcuterie Salmonella cases

Wedge of cheddar cheese

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At least 10 people in four states have been infected with pathogenic Escherichia coli in an outbreak tied to cheese made from raw milk by Raw Farm LLC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed late last week, and a day earlier the agency reported 40 more Salmonella illnesses in a 30-state outbreak linked to charcuterie meats.

Four patients hospitalized

In a February 16 food safety alert, the CDC said 4 of the 10 people with E coli were hospitalized. One of them developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. None of the patients in the outbreak have died.

Of eight patients who were interviewed, six reported eating Raw Farm raw cheddar cheese, which is made with unpasteurized milk. Illness-onset dates range from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Patients range in age from 2 to 58, with a median age of 24 years. Seven of the patients are male.

"The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses," the CDC said. "This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for E. coli. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak."

The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher.

Four cases are in California, 3 in Colorado, 2 in Utah, and 1 in Texas.

The CDC advises people not to eat, sell, or serve Raw Farm raw cheddar cheese while it conducts its investigation into the outbreak. It said Raw Farm LLC, of Fresno, California, has agreed to recall implicated products and is working with the Food and Drug Administration.

Charcuterie Salmonella outbreak grows to 87 cases

On February 15, the CDC noted that a Salmonella outbreak associated with charcuterie meats sold at various groceries has grown from 47 to 87 cases with the addition of 40 new illnesses. Affected states grew by 8, to 30.

In this outbreak, illnesses began from November 20, 2023, to January 20, 2024. Of 74 people with information available, 18 have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. The outbreak strain is called Salmonella I 4:I:-.

Patients range in age from 1 to 92 years, with a median age of 47. Sixty percent of patients in this outbreak are male. Ohio has confirmed the most cases, 13, while New York has reported 9 and Texas 8.

The CDC said, "Epidemiologic and laboratory data show that charcuterie meat products from Fratelli Beretta are making people in this outbreak sick." On February 12, Fratelli Beretta USA, Inc, of Mount Olive, New Jersey, recalled many brands of charcuterie meat products containing coppa, a dry-cured pork product similar to prosciutto, owing to Salmonella contamination.

The charcuterie meat was sold under the Aldi, Beretta, Black Bear, Busseto, Culinary Tour, Dietz and Watson, Lidl, Publix, and Salumi Artigianali brands. The CDC first alerted the public to the outbreak on January 5.

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