According to press reports, public health officials estimate 2,100 Utahns have been sickened with salmonella from home-made queso fresco since 2009.
The Salt Lake Valley Health Department has tracked down one source of the outbreak — an unnamed man dubbed “Mr. Cheese,” who was making the product with raw milk and selling it to a Salt Lake City restaurant/deli.
The health department has confirmed that 73 people were sickened with the illness, which causes diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. But they estimate that hundreds more were ill and never reported it to the health department.
Officials have ordered the deli to stop purchasing cheese from illegal sources but refused to release its name until pending discipline against its license is complete. Mr. Cheese has not been charged, and officials are not releasing his name. The Department of Agriculture issued a cease and desist order to Mr. Cheese on Oct. 12.