USA: Illegal cheese destroyed after California state investigation
Two people have been cited by the Californian state Department of Food and Agriculture for illegally producing soft cheese.
Around 300 pounds of Queso Fresco, a soft white cheese with a mild, slightly salty flavour, have been destroyed, mostly from production units in the Eastvale community of Riverside County.
It is a criminal offence to manufacturer and sell cheese from an unlicensed facility in California, with the maximum penalty being a year-long jail sentence and a US$10,000 fine.
State agriculture officials explain that when produced illegally, the cheese, which is often referred to as "bathtub" cheese because home producers use bathtubs and homemade vats, pose a significant health threat to consumers.
Often sold door-to-door or on flea markets by unlicensed manufacturers, the cheese is often made with raw, unpasteurised milk that can harbour harmful bacteria such as Listeria and Salmonella.
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