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Homemade curds sicken dozens

Unlicensed cheesemaker told to halt production
By JESSE GARZA
jgarza@journalsentinel.com
Posted: June 22, 2006
More than 40 people have become ill after eating unpasteurized cheese curds produced by Wesley Lindquist of Highbridge, state health officials said Thursday.
Test results from six of those people confirmed the presence of Campylobacter jejuni bacteria, a statement from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services said.
The bacteria cause nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever and vomiting. On rare occasions, those affected develop more severe complications such as temporary arthritis or paralysis, generally after the initial symptoms have disappeared, the statement said.


State health officials urge anyone who has exhibited these symptoms and who has recently consumed unpasteurized milk or dairy products to contact their health care provider.
Anyone who has cheese curds produced by Lindquist, which are distributed in unlabeled clear bags, should contact the Ashland County-City Health Department so further testing can be done on the dairy product.
Lindquist has been ordered to stop production of the cheese curds, as well as all dairy manufacturing activity.
According to Donna Gilson, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the manufacturer was an “unlicensed cheesemaker using unlicensed facilities and unpasteurized milk” in what she called a “long-standing tradition” in Ashland County.