The FDA, in cooperation with other state and local public health agencies, is warning consumers not to eat any Sally Jackson cheeses. The products were processed under conditions that create a significant risk of contamination of the unpasteurized raw milk and finished cheese, and Sally Jackson cheeses have been identified as one possible source of eight cases of E. coli O157 infections in an ongoing investigation. Earlier this month, FDA was informed of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections by the Oregon Public Health Department (OPHD), WSDA, and the Washington Department of Health (WDOH). An investigation by these three state agencies and Public Health – Seattle and King County has identified eight ill persons with the outbreak strain who were ill between September and November. Of the seven patients for whom food history is available, one person reported consuming Sally Jackson cheese, and four others may have consumed Sally Jackson cheese.
Three of the four ill persons who may have consumed Sally Jackson cheese ate cheese from two restaurants serving Sally Jackson cheese, while the fourth tasted several cheeses that may have included Sally Jackson cheese. The remaining two patients consumed artisanal cheeses but do not know if it was Sally Jackson cheese. Analysis of cheese samples is currently in progress. This warning is to protect consumers until more information becomes available. FDA completed its inspection today and issued a Form 483, Inspectional Observations, which is not a final agency determination regarding compliance. The inspectional observations include problems related to the sanitation of the facility, its employees, equipment, and utensils as well as problems with facility construction and maintenance.
Unpasteurized raw milk in raw milk cheese is obtained from cows, sheep, or goats and is not pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. This raw, unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria, which are responsible for causing numerous foodborne illnesses. These harmful bacteria can seriously affect the health of anyone who drinks raw milk or eats cheese and other foods made from raw milk. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.