Chapel Hill, NC based company, Chapel Hill Creamery announced a voluntary recall yesterday of all Chapel Hill Creamery cheese products because of a potential association with an outbreak of Salmonella infections.
Food Safety News reports, to date, some 50 salmonella cases have been reported in north Carolina and another 50 outside the state and that it’s the same strain found in samples of raw milk from the Chapel Hill Creamery.
Health officials have identified recent cases of Salmonella infection in persons who consumed Chapel Hill Creamery products. A matching strain of Salmonella has been identified in the milk from the creamery that was used during preparation of the cheese products.
The products involved in the voluntary recall include all codes, packages and sizes of the following varieties of cheese manufactured by Chapel Hill Creamery and distributed through retail locations, Farmer’s Markets or restaurants throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.
The recalled cheeses include: Quark, Danziger, Swiss, Paneer, Calvander, Hot Farmers Cheese, Dairyland Farmers Cheese, Smoked Mozzarella, Fresh Mozzarella, Burrata, Hickory Grove, Carolina Moon, Smoked Farmers Cheese, New Moon and Pheta.
Portia McKnight, co-founder of the Creamery, said “Although there is not yet a definitive link between the CHC cheese and the illnesses, there is enough evidence to implicate the cheese and we are asking customers to not consume these cheeses or use them in food service.” Chapel Hill Creamery has requested wholesale customers to remove any CHC cheese from their shelves and dispose of it. Consumers who have this product in their home should not consume it and should dispose of it. Customers are reminded to thoroughly wash their hands and any utensils or equipment that may have contacted the cheese in warm, soapy water.
“Our customers are our top priority,” McKnight said. “If there is any potential of risk, we take that very seriously and are committed to addressing it fully.” Chapel Hill Creamery is working in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Orange County Health Department to identify the source of the Salmonella and which cheeses are affected.
Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.