Raw Farm Cheese E. coli Outbreak [Update]

Updated March 26 with final case totals

An E. coli outbreak linked to Raw Farm unpasteurized cheese has ended after sickening 11 people, five of whom were hospitalized. Two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening form of kidney failure.

The Fresno, CA-based company issued a recall for raw cheddar cheese sold shredded and in bricks, but later lifted the recall saying it was unfounded.

Health officials in CO, CA, and UT collected Raw Farm products for testing and all samples were negative for E. coli. “While E. coli has not been found in product samples, epidemiologic evidence shows that RAW FARM-brand Raw Cheddar cheese made by RAW FARM, LLC is the likely source of this outbreak, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated in its final outbreak report.  

Raw cheese E.coli

Raw Cheddar Cheese E. coli Outbreak

The patients, who range in age from 2 to 75 years old, are from five states: CA (4), CO (3), NJ (1), TX (1), and UT (2). Health officials interviewed ten of them and seven said they ate Raw Farm raw cheddar cheese before they became ill.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) revealed that the E. coli collected from patients showed the strains were closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

Symptoms of E. coli and HUS

Symptoms of an E. coli infection, which include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody, usually develop within one to three days of exposure. The patients in this outbreak first became ill on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to February 5, 2024.

Over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications and antibiotics should not be given to patients with E. coli infections as they can increase the chance of developing HUS. 

About 7 percent of E. coli patients, most often young children, develop the HUS. Symptoms usually set in about one week after E. coli symptoms. They include:

  • Pale skin
  • Skin that easily bruises
  • Decreased urine output
  • Lethargy
  • Bloody diarrhea 

Anyone with these symptoms should seek immediate medical care as HUS can be fatal. Treatment for HUS includes transfusions, dialysis, plasma exchange, and kidney transplants.

Experienced E. coli Lawyers

The E. coli Team at Pritzker Hageman has represented clients in every major U.S. E. coli outbreak. In one recent case, our team of E. coli lawyers obtained one of the largest E. coli verdicts in U.S. history.

If you or your family member developed an E. coli infection from contaminated Raw Farm cheese and you would like a free consultation with an experienced E. coli lawyer, please contact us by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text to 612-261-0856, or by completing the form below. The consultation is free and there is no obligation.

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Category: E. coli, Food Poisoning
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