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High levels of staphylococcus aureus, or known as “staph”, were found in several raw milk cheeses which were manufactured by Grassy Meadows dairy in Howe, Indiana.

The products that were found to contain “staph” include Colby (lot no. 210317 and 19177), Jalapeno natural cheese (lot no. 2617, 21017 and 11017), “Homemade” cheese (lot no. 19267 and 19227), Monterey Jack (lot no. 18207 and 2937), and garlic pepper cheese (lot no. 19147). All of these different cheese were sold in wedges or blocks, but were of different weights.

The products were sold in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. Consumers should check their refrigerators for these products and remove them. None of the cheese should be eaten if it was purchased before January 30, 2008 because it may be contaminated. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health’s Dairy Division has not yet been able to identify when the staph contamination began.

Routine surveillance by The Indiana State BOAH discovered the problem during routine surveillance. All the samples taken indicated higher-than-allowed levels of staph. So far, there have been no consumer illness or complaints reported.

Grassy Meadows products were sold directly to consumers from the dairy farm, located in LaGrange County, Ind., as well as more than a dozen retail health food stores in Northeastern/Fort Wayne Indiana region. BOAH is working to secure a complete list of retails outlets that carry this product.

Staph infections can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, headache and muscle cramping and can affect the very young, the very old and those with compromised immune systems most severely.

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