The California Department of Public Health is warning people not to eat cashew cheese products manufactured by The Cultured Kitchen of West Sacramento because they may be contaminated with salmonella.
Fifteen cases of illness have been reported in the western United States, with 12 of those cases occurring in California, according to a Department of Public Health news release. Three patients have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
The Cultured Kitchen initiated a voluntary recall of all flavors of its cashew cheese products with expiration dates on or before April 12, 2014, due to the risk of contamination with salmonella. The products were sold in natural food stores throughout Northern California and northern Nevada, and at farmers markets in Sacramento County, according to state officials.
The cashew cheese products were sold in 8-ounce plastic containers in herb, smoked cheddar, pepper jack, habanero cilantro lime, basil pesto and white cheddar flavors.
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Although the cheese products are no longer being sold at retail facilities, state health officials are concerned that consumers may still have some of these products in their homes. Consumers who have the recalled products are advised to discard them, or return them to the place of purchase for a refund.
Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, which may be bloody. Most infected people recover within a week, but some may develop complications and require hospitalization. Infants, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for severe illness.
Consumers experiencing any ill effects after eating these products are advised to consult their health-care provider. Anyone who observes the product being sold is asked to call the California Department of Public Health’s toll-free-complaint line at (800) 495-3232.