Pennsylvania officials have issued a recall for aged hard cheddar cheese made with raw milk, which has been found to be contaminated and could cause food poisoning.
The raw cheese recall was announced on July 7, and affects aged hard cheddar cheese made by Milky Way Farm. The recall comes after Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture testing found Staphylococcus aureus and enterotoxin in samples of the cheese.
The cheese was made with raw milk, which is a term for milk that is unpasteurized. Unpasteurized milk has become an increasing health trend due to the belief that there are additional health benefits. However, raw milk has not been treated to kill organisms such as E. coli and Salmonella.
Sale of raw milk is only allowed in 20 states, and it is illegal to sell across state lines. Pennsylvania law allows the use of unpasteurized milk in aged hard cheese as long as it has been aged for longer than 60 days in temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
This latest recall comes only a month after raw milk sold in Minnesota was blamed for an E. coli food poisoning outbreak that sickened at least four people. The state issued a raw milk recall for unpasteurized milk from Hartmann Dairy Farm in Gibbon, Minnesota, as a result.
The Milky Way Farm cheese recall affects only about 20 lbs of aged hard cheddar cheese sold at the farm in Troy, in Bradford County.
Staphylococcal food poisoning can cause serious illness, with symptoms including nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, muscle cramping, headaches, and changes in blood pressure. Enterotoxin can also cause severe food poisoning, resulting in vomiting diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Finding enterotoxin in a dairy product violates Pennsylvania law and allows the state to take away Milky Way Farm’s raw milk cheese manufacturing license until the farm can produce cheese that passes state inspections and is free of food borne illness-causing bacteria.
State officials urge anyone who has aged hard cheddar cheese from Milky Way Farm to discard it immediately.