JOLIET – The Will County Health Department is teaming with the Illinois Department of Public Health, and local health jurisdictions across the state to warn consumers of health risks posed by Mexican-style cheese produced from an unlicensed dairy source.
Since 2012, IDPH has confirmed the presence of Salmonella typhimurium in samples collected from 99 individuals, and most of them report a history of eating Mexican-style cheese produced by an unspecified, unlicensed dairy. Cases have been confirmed in 13 Illinois counties, and IDPH is working with local health jurisdictions in an effort to identify the production source and minimize the potential for additional illness.
Although 13 counties are currently involved in this ongoing investigation, more than 90 percent of the total case count comes from six Chicagoland counties or the city of Chicago. Two cases have been identified from Will County, both involving children of Hispanic origin residing in the Bolingbrook area. Both of the local cases were identified in the spring of 2013.
More than 30 of the cases statewide resulted in hospitalizations. Neither of the Will County cases were hospitalized.
The Health Department urges consumers to purchase only milk and dairy products manufactured by licensed dairy manufacturers. Legitimate Mexican-style cheeses are available in the refrigerator cases at retail stores. Mowst licensed product includes label information detailing quantity of contents, the name and address of the distributor, ingredient information, and nutrition facts.
Anyone with information about unlicensed Mexican-style cheese is urged to contact their local public health jurisdiction.