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Possible pasteurization failure spurs cottage cheese warning

Wisconsin officials are warning of a possible pasteurization failure and advising the public to not eat a specific lot of cottage cheese made by Westby Cooperative Creamery.

The consumer alert is for 4 percent cottage cheese from the cooperative in Westby, WI. The implicated lot was sold on or before Aug. 26 in plastic containers in 16-, 22- and 24-ounce sizes under the Westby Cooperative Creamery, Food Club, Oberweis and Shurfine brand names. The containers have the lot code 10-6-16 cc.

logo Westby Cooperative CreameryNearly 700 cases of implicated cottage cheese from Westby Cooperative Creamery were distributed statewide in Wisconsin and to Aurora, IL. Consumers in possession of this product should not consume it, but should return it to the place of purchase or discard it, according to Wisconsin officials.

“The presence of active alkaline phosphatase was discovered in samples during routine testing and may indicate that the product was not adequately pasteurized,” according to the Friday evening warning from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s Division of Food and Recreational Safety.

“Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme naturally present and active in raw milk that is not active in milk that has been sufficiently pasteurized. Raw milk can be contaminated by pathogenic bacteria like E. coli O157, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria. If these pathogens were present in the raw milk that was inadequately pasteurized, they may have survived and, if ingested, could cause illness.”

No illnesses had been reported in relation to consumption of the implicated cottage cheese as of Friday evening, according to the state warning.

Anyone who has eaten the implicated cottage cheese and developed symptoms of foodborne illness is urged to contact a physician.

Symptoms for most foodborne illnesses likely to occur from consuming raw or improperly pasteurized dairy products develop within a few hours or a fews days after exposure. However, infections from Listeria can take up to 70 days before causing symptoms.

Pathogens in raw or improperly pasteurized dairy products usually cause diarrhea and/or vomiting, typically lasting 1-7 days. Other symptoms might include abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, joint/back aches and fatigue.

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