Sally Jackson Cheeses recalled for possible E.coli
December 17th, 2010
01:24 PM ET

Sally Jackson Cheeses recalled for possible E.coli

All Sally Jackson Cheeses are being recalled because they may be contaminated with E.coli, the Food and Drug Administration announced Friday.

The cheeses from the company are made from raw cows', goats', and sheep milk.  They do not carry labels or bar codes, because they are wrapped in leaves and tied with twine. The cheeses are all soft raw milk cheeses, and were distributed nationwide to restaurants, distributors, and retail stores.

Previous outbreaks have linked E.coli to raw dairy products, according to research.  

The company's cow and sheep milk cheeses are wrapped in chestnut leaves; the goat cheese is wrapped in grape leaves. The cheeses may have an outer wrapping of waxed paper, according to the FDA press release.

State officials in Washington, where the company is based, were investigating reports of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections and Sally Jackson Cheese products were identified as possible sources.  The strain of bacteria Escherichia coli O157:H7 can cause diarrheal illness, bloody stools, kidney failure and in very serious cases, death.

CDC: 1 in 6 Americans get food poisoning

Customers who bought the cheeses should return it where they bought it.

There was another recall involving cheese with the same type of E.coli earlier this fall.

Sally Jackon Cheese's website describes a farm on 140 acres in the Okanogan Highlands of eastern Washington. The types of cheese the company produces are “cheeses that customers request instead of just making one or two kinds of cheese and then trying to sell them before they get too ripe,” according to the website.

soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Julie Labrouste

    What is the matter with these food product industries!? O.O Every other day they have to recall something! I remember them having to recall CELERY for God sake! Pull your collective heads out!

    December 17, 2010 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Diane

      I will never ingest anything that is made in China. You would have to be completely mad and out of your mind to think that whatever it is would be healthy.

      December 17, 2010 at 14:44 | Report abuse |
    • JA

      Uh, last I looked, Washington State is not in China, Diane.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:38 | Report abuse |
    • Texas Pete

      I would be really surprised if more then 1% of our food was from China.

      December 17, 2010 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
    • gingersue

      to Texas Pete – prepare to be surprised! It's hard to buy any food in America that doesn't contain ingredients from China.

      An article on CNN in 2007 said:
      The amount of food imported from China has grown dramatically in the past decade. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States imported $4.1 billion worth of seafood and agricultural products from China in 2006. In 1995, it was $800 million.

      I wonder what the stats are today? They also state that 50% of the apple juice on our shelves comes from China.

      Most food products are not required to list the country of origin, only where it was processed or packed.

      I stood in a food store a couple of years ago and listened to the manager tell me that almost every vegetable in there, canned and frozen, came from China.

      December 19, 2010 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Festivus

      Great jump to a conclusion there...a little stretch there from the west coast to China. Wrapped in leaves and RAW would be the active thing to me saying DO NOT EAT ME.

      That said, my wife's from China and even avoids foods made there....but that is not the crux of this story.

      December 20, 2010 at 08:48 | Report abuse |
  2. Reality

    Raw mammal secretions wrapped in plant leaves that birds have been crapping on getting people sick? Who could have expected anything like this to happen? What a shocker!

    December 17, 2010 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Bodacious

      And people are willing to pay $30/lb for it. So, you can put a price on E Coli.

      December 17, 2010 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
  3. The Bodacious

    Will the FDA need to place a Mr. Yuck sticker on all packaged food?

    December 17, 2010 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Uncle Festivus

      The RAW GOAT cheese aspect already should say that. Hippie health food.

      December 20, 2010 at 08:50 | Report abuse |
  4. Brian

    "Raw mammal secretions wrapped in plant leaves that birds have been crapping on getting people sick? "...........

    That's how the free market works.

    December 17, 2010 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Chazz

    bird crap? Hmm..we have all ingested worse!

    December 17, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • J Gold

      Yeah. I've eaten at TGI Friday's.

      December 17, 2010 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
  6. Todd A

    Well I think that pretty much sums up the truth behind so-called organic food.

    Pastuerization is used because it works. I guess this company found that out too late.

    December 17, 2010 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GC

      I don't think this sums up anything about orgainic food.
      Looking carefully, this article contains the phrases "... may be contaminated..." and "...possible sources..."
      These may be risky foods to buy, and if you think so, don't buy them.
      If you buy this or ANY food (processed for safety or not), do not eat it and return it. The producers (both organic and non-organic) should then use this to fix the root of the problem. They are not in business to make people sick.
      I would be FOR placing a Mr. Yuck sticker on the package if it meant that I was free to purchase this and what may seem to be potentially hazardous foods. What individuals choose to put into their own bodies is a very personal issue, and I feel people should make thier own decisions.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
    • Skip Bowe

      This has nothing to do with organic. Almost all organic dairy products are pateurized. Get your facts straight before you spew nonsense. This cheese was made with RAW products not organic products.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
    • Skip Bowe

      Where in this article do you see the word "organic"?

      December 17, 2010 at 15:27 | Report abuse |
    • MB

      to Skip Bowe...raw milk is organic...so is poop Hooray for pasteurization! Survival of the fittest at it's best.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
    • don

      @MB: Raw is NOT the same as organic. Raw means unpasteurized. Organic means it the cow was fed an organic diet.

      You can drink raw milk that is either organic or conventional. You can drink organic milk that is either raw or pasteurized.

      December 17, 2010 at 16:06 | Report abuse |
    • FoodLabTech

      'Raw' and 'organic' are two very different identifiers.

      There can be 'raw' milk that is NOT organic. There can be 'organic' milk that is not 'raw.' Implying that one means the other or one infers a certain state..well, it is just not true.

      The 'raw' food movement implies that certain enzymes – that are inactivated by Pasteurization – are valuable to the nutritonal value. Now even some 'raw foodies' acknowledge that the lower temperature/longer time Pasteurization techniques do not inherently inactivate the enzymes. However, for the sake of speed and efficiency (and cost), Ultra-Pasteurization is frequently used and DOES inactivate the enzymes.

      Also of note, the cheese involved must be 'young' unaged cheese. Cheeses that age for over 120 days will naturally lose the E. coli bacteria as part of the natural, chemical maturation process that makes most cheeses.

      Organic products mean that no treatments were used to facilitate higher milk production, in the feed of the animals, or to change the quality of the natural product.

      December 17, 2010 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      Yeah, because non-organic food NEVER gets recalled for e.coli or salmonella....

      December 18, 2010 at 18:03 | Report abuse |
    • sockpuppet

      you really think raw and organic are the same thing? WOW the ignorance of this country never ceases to amaze me

      December 20, 2010 at 03:05 | Report abuse |
  7. locdvegan

    glad i don't eat cheese anymore...what's up with the wrapping? contaminated/bad food seems to be the norm nowadays...

    December 17, 2010 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Bodacious

      Why do people always blame the wrapping. Quit giving it a bad rap. lol

      December 17, 2010 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • RW

      The wrapping is to protect the cheese and to impart flavor. I would think the contamination was cross-contamination as the FDA requires cheeses from raw milk sources to be aged at least 60 days for bacteria to die.

      We sell raw artisanal cheeses at my work, and I have learned a great deal about them. I truly think this was a case of mis-handling.

      December 20, 2010 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
  8. Budaweep

    Brings all new meaning to the expression 'stinky cheese'.

    December 17, 2010 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. daisie

    LOL- For your info Diane, the cheese are from America, not China!!!! Maybe you should read before commenting..Typical!

    December 17, 2010 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. D

    This is another move to oust private producers from the market...the family who makes these cheeses has been doing so for generations, and almost single handidly provides the fine cheese for this country's ultra-fine restaurants...the gov dairy reps dont like a small town operations taking away such a profitable market niche...no one has gotten sick from her cheese, unless they eat too much of it ; ) ...i say as long as people are willing to buy cheeses with descriptions that sounds repulsive, if not edible, let them do it...

    December 17, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fairplay99

      I disagree, the news article is a public service announcement to warn people that purchased the cheese.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
    • Judi

      The government has been after raw food producers for some months now. This all has to do with the bill that was just passed that allows the gov't to have more control over food producers, under the guise of protecting the public. Google S.510.

      December 17, 2010 at 17:23 | Report abuse |
    • Walther Shmit from Oregon

      This has NOTHING to do with the size of the company. If you own a food company, and you poison your customers, you will be liable. Simple as that. This cheese company was too lazy to do routine, inexpensive testing to check for the presence of harmful bacteria BEFORE releasing the products for sale.

      December 20, 2010 at 14:35 | Report abuse |
  11. Jay

    I'm glad I didn't cut that cheese..

    December 17, 2010 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jdawg

    here's my only comment regarding this. This IS EXACTLY WHY Louis Pasteur developed his techniques. This, in effect, is why we no longer die at the age of 30 from horrible communicable diseases. The "whole foods" movement is good in principle – fresher foods are always better (except maybe in the case of cheese, wine and cured meats) but some common sense needs to be spread around. Actually, I take it back... if you want to throw the dice and gamble in the name of eating what you believe is healthier, more power to you, but don't come crying to me when you're camped on the toilet for weeks on end due to gastro-intestinal infections which are ENTIRELY avoidable.

    December 17, 2010 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MB


      December 17, 2010 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
    • The Bodacious

      About 60 people die each year from E Coli. 20-30 are children. Glad this is your only comment.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
    • My2Cents

      This goes far beyong the decision certain people make to eat unpasteurized dairy products. Having a choice is great, but don't forget the cost to all of us. When you get sick, that free choice causes you visit the doctor, the insurance company of either you or the cheese company pay, our insurance rates are raised....it's a cycle we shouldn't forget.

      December 18, 2010 at 09:18 | Report abuse |
    • neoreundoer

      Pasteurization is a physical process (unit operation) in which the bulk time/temperature/pressure has been acheived and proved to reduce the population of the viable species of interest by 5 log. That simply means that 99.999% of the e-coli should be killed under the specific specified (Pasteurization) conditions needed for each product. Bacteria is incredibly resiliant and in practice to validate a process capable of producing a 5 log kill, you need to inject your sample with 7 log or higher dosage. This means, unless you are sterilizing, you can and probably will have some live and some injured (capable of recovering & reproducing) organisms. If packaged properly, pasteurization is an acceptable risk process. Don't get me started, I may tell you more than you want to know.

      December 20, 2010 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
  13. Fairplay99

    No matter what, a food business has a big responsibility to make certain that what it sells is safe for the consumer. There are ways and means for All Sally Jackson Cheeses to have prevented this issue. When it comes to food, it is not buyer beware.

    December 17, 2010 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. JB!

    Well at least it didn't use any plastic packaging! Now that I think of it, the more tree huggers that mother nature knocks off the better off we all are. Kind of ironic too >:-)

    December 17, 2010 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. boocat

    Here we go again....you'd think we lived in a third world country....that's what happens when corporations are given free run and are allowed to do whatever they want. Live with it – all of you capitalist money grubbing freaks.

    December 17, 2010 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chaz

      This is a small, self-sustaining farm, hardly a big corporation. Either you didn't read the article, or are too dumb to figure it out.

      December 17, 2010 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
  16. go west

    I live in europe and we eat all kinds of stinky and unpasturized cheese and havent had an e coli out break yet in may family yet, also as a youth I grew up on a dairy farm in the states and we only had raw milk to drink morning noon and night, quite trying to be so sterle and your problems probably wont happen

    December 17, 2010 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Nikki

    @JB! From the looks of what is left of the website. They mostly sell to restaraunts. This cheese is probably high priced and any respecting "tree hugger" wouldn't buy it. Mother nature doesn't discriminate when it comes to "knocking people off." As far as I am concerned....the world would be a much better place with out people like YOU, who don't give a rats butt about their planet. Ungrateful is what you are. And I bet Mother Nature would agree.

    December 17, 2010 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Bearie

    Wow, a cheese fight!!!

    December 17, 2010 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Ralph Celi

    It would be useful to show the package of the products at retail level, at least more useful that the representation of the E-Coli.

    December 17, 2010 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Rapitup

    I personally like some rap – maybe about 15%.

    December 17, 2010 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Daydream415

    Last time I checked humans benefit from eating organic, locally grown produce; these items contain cells that help us adapt to our environment. If you wouldn't go up to a cow and suck from its utter you probably shouldn't be consuming dairy products. If you want dairy where you will truly know what the animal has eaten and that it has not lived in its own feces then you ought to have your own barn and livestock.

    December 17, 2010 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. kazz

    we gotta fix the food supply in this country

    December 17, 2010 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. karen

    cheese wrapped in leaves. sounds appetizing. its Kraft american cheese food wrapped in cellophane for me!

    December 17, 2010 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Johnny

      And not an ounce of flavor for you either.

      December 17, 2010 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
    • Maunawili

      That's not cheese.. it's Pasteurized Cheese Food Product. Big difference.

      December 17, 2010 at 21:16 | Report abuse |
  24. Heads Up

    Pulling the cheese may indeed have another great effect and that is to prevent the American constipation problem since eating too much cheese can make one constipated!

    December 17, 2010 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Jeffpb

    We keep getting more of these reports of our contaminated food supply by different pathogens. What if we started irradiating the food somewhere in the supply line? Wouldn’t this be a lot safer than eating these different pathogens. I’ve never seen any evidence that someone will get sick or die from food sterilization by radiation.

    December 17, 2010 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Frutero

    Grow what you can. Stuff you can't grow (for most of us, that's animal protein), buy as locally as you can. Other than that, keep yourselves informed. Following the news makes you smarter, but following Fox makes you dumber. Swallowing Fox poop will make you sicker than escherischia coli and salmonella typhi rolled into one ball of s*, but now that you are informed, if you really want to, be my guest.

    December 17, 2010 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Wright

    my mother taught me two things: never eat anything bigger then your head...and never eat anything wrapped in leaves....if you follow those rules, this cheese thing is not a problem...

    December 17, 2010 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. GC

    The heart of the discussion here is that these products have a potential higher level of risk.
    I like buying "risky" products from time to time. A good cigar, nice bottle of wine, raw honey ... all these have an element of danger, but also have unique benefits that a "sanitized" version would not.
    Sanitation is good but choice is good too.
    The small business that makes this cheese is not a villian, they are a small business.
    I'd hate to see all these little guys go out of business because they can't make a profit because of a POSSIBILITY that their cheese could have e.coli.
    I guess I'm pro-FOOD-choice.
    Put a label on it and be done with it. "Caution – Risky Food"
    "Mr. Yuck" is fine too, as long as I can buy it if I want to.

    December 17, 2010 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. SS

    As someone who has sold cheeses for a number of years, including Ms. Jackson's( yes there actually is a Sally Jackson,) there is so much just wrong with the recall of her product. If one is to go back through the years one would find that virtually every outbreak of food related illnesses attributed to dairy is traceable to large industrial producers; usually involving a lack of hygiene on the part of an employee. Producers such as Sally Jackson have a small number of animals and usually know them by name; their health is paramount to the business.
    As to the wrapping in leaves itis very tradtional throughout Europe and the leaves are not just yard debris. Let alone have you ever had a tamale, dolmas or even a salad? Leaves!

    December 17, 2010 at 20:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Maunawili

      Not to mention Laulau, a Hawaiian food wrapped in Ti leaves, or various other Pacific Islands foods wrapped in Banana leaves. Nothing wrong with that.

      December 17, 2010 at 21:20 | Report abuse |
  30. Debra

    Nothing wrong at all with foods wrapped in leaves -just leave the crap out of mine- I dont care who sticks up for sally and her party concobctions -thanks for the thumbs up –

    December 17, 2010 at 22:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. The_Mick

    That's probably why the cheese Danish pastries were half price at the supermarket today. I stocked up in case the Sat-Sun snow here in Baltimore makes driving undesirable for a couple days. The Saints-Ravens game might be a mess!

    December 17, 2010 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. SallyO

    How can I make sure I am not eating at any restaurants that purchase cheese that is wrapped in leaves and tied with twine? Yuck and double yuck.

    December 18, 2010 at 03:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. MBAperson

    It's because we mistakenly think big business will self regulate. They won't. We won't pay the taxes for good gov't oversight so they can't. Conclusion: bad cheese, bad eggs, etc.

    December 18, 2010 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. SS

    For those who are so totally freaked out about Sally Jackson or any other leaf wrapped cheese, not to worry. If you're not looking for them or in the habit of ordering a cheese course you're not going to be eating them. These are small, usually 2-8 oz., cheeses meant to be eaten as cheese. They are not going to show up in your mac & cheese or your Danish.
    By the way if you've ever had real Swiss Gruyere or Emmentaler or Parmigiano-Reggiano among many others, you've had raw milk cheese. By the laws of their countries of origin they have to be.
    I still believe a more likely source of the e. coli would be contamination at the retail level.

    December 18, 2010 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. MtnMama

    If one reads the article carefully, it states that the cheese is a POSSIBLE source of contamination. That has not been confirmed! The minutes a product is known to have raw milk, the hackles of the feds get raised and they go after it. Armed raids of dairy farms are occurring across the country. This is big Ag pushing the little guys out.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Greentime

    E. coli is an intestinal pathogen. It only gets in the food if fecal matter gets in the food. Since plants don't have intestines, all E. coli infections–in fact all food poisoning–comes from animals. When's the last time you heard of anyone getting Dutch elm disease or a really bad case of aphids? People don't get plant diseases; they get animal diseases. The problem is that because of the number of animals raised today, a billion tons of manure are produced every year in the United States–the weight of 10,000 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. Dairy cow and pig factories often dump millions of gallons of putrefying waste into massive open-air cesspits, which can leak and contaminate water used to irrigate our crops. That's how a deadly fecal pathogen like E. coli O157:H7 can end up contaminating our spinach. So regardless of what we eat, we all need to fight against the expansion of factory farming in our communities, our nation, and around the world.

    When medical researchers at the University of Minnesota took more than 1,000 food samples from multiple retail markets, they found evidence of fecal contamination in 69% of the pork and beef and 92% of the poultry samples. Nine out of ten chicken carcasses in the store may be contaminated with fecal matter. And half of the poultry samples were contaminated with the UTI-causing E. coli bacteria.

    Scientists now suspect that by eating chicken, women infect their lower intestinal tract with these meat-borne bacteria, which can then creep up into their bladder. Hygiene measures to prevent UTIs have traditionally included wiping from front to back after bowel movements and urinating after intercourse to flush out any invaders, but now women can add poultry avoidance as a way to help prevent urinary tract infections.

    December 18, 2010 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Geraldine Carbone

    I thought this country doesn't sell raw unpasteurized cheese. It's quite dangerous anyway.

    December 18, 2010 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Maggie

      It is legal to sell raw milk cheeses in the US only if they have been aged for more than 60 days, by which time most bacteria (including e.coli!) is naturally killed off. Raw milk cheese is not inherently dangerous. Ever eaten parm in a restaraunt? It's raw.

      December 18, 2010 at 20:56 | Report abuse |
  38. dw

    Sally Jackson makes an exquisite, traditional style cheese with a flavor that is just outstanding. I suspect it will turn out that these fears about her cheese in particular are unfounded. Unfortunately her operation is small and I'm worried that this kind of PR could be very hard on her farm and on our neighbors who work with her.

    December 18, 2010 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Jor

    its funny there website has nothing at all concerning this.....

    December 19, 2010 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Tyisha Brutger

    I view something really special in this web site.


    January 4, 2021 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply

Leave a Reply to SallyO


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.