August 20, 2009: Los Angeles Public Health Department – Unlicensed Dairy Products Health Alert Health Alert

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department Officer, Jonathan E. Fielding, has issued a Health Alert on behalf of the Health Department.

Unlicensed Dairy Products Health Alert Issued

“With unlicensed dairy products, you cannot be sure of what you’re getting,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. “They may contain unpasteurized milk, have been made in unsanitary conditions, and may have been transported without refrigeration. This is a recipe for disaster, as harmful bacteria in these products can be dangerous to your health and safety.”

Consumers are also warned that dairy products, including Latin American-style soft cheese and sour cream, purchased from unlicensed manufacturers or vendors may be made with unpasteurized milk and may contain other contaminants.

Dairy products commonly sold by unlicensed manufacturers include Queso Fresco, Panela, Queso Seco, Asadero, Queso Oaxaca, Queso Cotija, and Crema. Unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized cheese contain raw milk that has not been heated enough during processing to kill harmful bacteria.

These bacteria, such as Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, bovine Tuberculosis, and Brucella, can cause miscarriage, illness to unborn babies, diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, swollen neck glands, and/or blood stream infection.

Purchasing and Storage Tips For The Safe Handling of Cheese

Tips for purchasing safe cheese:

  • Avoid dairy products with missing or incomplete labels.
  • Labels should provide safe handling and storage information, a list of all the ingredients, including “pasteurized milk”, and identify the manufacturer responsible for the product.
  • Cheese products should be factory sealed.
  • Buy cheese from the refrigerated section of the market.
  • Do not purchase cheese from unlicensed manufacturers, unlicensed vendors at swap meets, door-to-door vendors, or on the street.

Tips for storing and handling cheese safely include:

  • Keep the cheese refrigerated at 41┬░F or below.
  • Wrap the cheese in plastic after each use.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water before handling food items.
  • Use different utensils to cut cheese, meat, poultry, and seafood to prevent cross contamination.

About Listeria

The bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes, can cause life-threatening infections in young children, the elderly, and immunocompromised. In pregnant women, listeriosis (or Listeria infection) can cause miscarriage or stillbirth.

Listeria Lawsuit Help

The Law Firm of Eric Weinberg currently represents individuals who have been sickened in Listeria food poisoning outbreaks nationwide. If you have a question concerning your legal rights, please call us toll free at 1-877-934-6274, or see Food Poisoning Lawyer.

Please see C. Diff Lawyers and Pulmonary Embolism Lawsuit, and Medication Error Lawsuit to learn about our additional legal services.

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