Chapel-Hill-Creamery-cheeseFood Safety News reports that the Chapel Hill Creamery in Chapel Hill, NC, is recalling all of its cheese products because they have been linked to a growing Salmonella outbreak in North Carolina and elsewhere.

A local county health officer said Thursday that the outbreak has sickened at least 50 people in North Carolina and about the same number in other states, and that it’s the same strain found in samples of raw milk from the Chapel Hill Creamery. Nine of those sickened in North Carolina have been hospitalized so far, she said.

“This is way more than usual, which is why we started doing the investigation. We hit clusters of Salmonella, especially in the summertime, but we started seeing dozens and that’s when we started doing questionnaires to identify a common source,” said Colleen Bridger, director of the Orange County Health Department in Chapel Hill.

Bridger said not all of the 50-plus in-state cases have been interviewed, but the “vast majority” of those who have recalled eating cheese from the Chapel Hill Creamery.

“We’ve been monitoring the Salmonella cases for about three weeks and started doing questionnaires about a week ago, and it was just yesterday that we felt we had enough information to say this is probably the Chapel Hill Creamery. We didn’t want to make the declaration until we were sure,” she added.

The products being recalled include all codes, packages and sizes of 14 varieties of cheese manufactured by the Chapel Hill Creamery and distributed through retail locations, farmers markets and restaurants throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

The cheese varieties are: Quark, Danziger, Swiss, Paneer, Calvander, Hot Farmers Cheese, Dairyland Farmers Cheese, Smoked Mozzarella, Fresh Mozzarella, Burrata, Hickory Grove, Carolina Moon, Smoked Farmers Cheese, New Moon, and Pheta.