Raw cheddar cheese produced and packaged by Raw Farm LLC of Fresno County, CA, is the subject of a new statewide recall and quarantine order by California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones.  

The order applies to “Raw Farm Cheddar” packaged in one-pound blocks with a code date marked on the plastic wrapper of BEST BY: 03/16/2024 and BATCH# 20230517-1. State testing showed Salmonella contamination.

Last week, Raw Farm LLC, formerly known as Organic Pastures, was subjected to a federal court order that, for at least the next 60 months, requires it to “abide by the decisions of the FDA” with specific requirements for audits and labeling that must be followed including hiring an independent “labeling expert.”

In March, the FDA went to court to reopen 2008 litigation because it claimed Raw Farm LLC violated the April 2010 Permanent Injunction, which imposed restrictions from distributing unapproved drugs, misbranded food, and raw milk and raw milk products for human consumption in interstate commerce.

This week, consumers are strongly urged to dispose of any of the recalled cheese remaining in their refrigerators, and retailers are to pull the product immediately from their shelves. The current order does not include other lots or products from Raw Farm LLC.

There is nothing about the recall on Raw Farm’s website, but it does say this: “Our Raw Cheddar has aged a minimum of 60 days and is truly traditional artisan raw cheddar. Made with Whole Raw Milk, each block is packed with bioavailable vitamins, minerals, enzymes, beneficial bacteria, naturally occurring CLA, and Omega-3 fatty acids.  Raw Cheddar’s ease of digestibility gives those who experience discomfort with processed cheese products a delicious and natural option. No coloring was ever added. We believe in keeping our products TRULY raw, which involves never heating above 102° F. Many other so-called “raw” cheese are heated to temperatures just under the legal pasteurized temperature of 161° F, which denatures proteins and enzymes and kills beneficial bacteria that aid in the digestion of dairy.”

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) found the Salmonella bacteria in a routine sample collected at the Raw Farm, LLC manufacturing and packaging facility. No illnesses have yet been reported. 

Symptoms of Salmonella infection include fever, stomach cramps, and diarrhea that may be bloody. Some people may also have nausea, vomiting, or a headache. 

Most people infected with Salmonella develop symptoms within 6 hours to 6 days after exposure. While most individuals recover in 4 to 7 days without medical intervention, some may develop complications that require hospitalization.

Children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and people whose immune systems are weakened from certain medical conditions (such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, and cancer) or whose treatments are at the highest risk for more severe illness.

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