Officials focus on milk in tainted cheese probe
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah agriculture officials investigating a salmonella outbreak say they're trying to find how a West Valley City man dubbed "Mr. Cheese" got raw milk to illegally produce homemade queso fresco.
The Utah Department of Agriculture officials say this week they haven't yet confirmed contaminated milk is the source of the bacteria in the soft, Mexican-style cheese. But they conducted testing at Utah dairies and continue to follow up on leads.
Agriculture officials issued a cease and desist order to the cheese maker on Oct. 12, after visiting his home and finding violations of state cheese-making code.
Authorities have linked his products to a salmonella outbreak that began in 2009 and led to 73 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport.
Health officials estimate as many as 2,100 people may have been sickened.
Copyright 2011 The AP.