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Food Poison Journal Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

FDA Finds Insanitary Conditions at Sally Jackson Cheese

The FDA has released their Form 483 (PDF), detailing several alarming and insanitary practices at Sally Jackson Cheese’s manufacturing facility that likely contributed to the current raw cheese E. coli O157:H7 outbreak among Washington, Oregon, Vermont, and Minnesota residents.

Among the more egregious findings:

  • The owner was observed throughout the day doing such things as stirring cheese curds with bare hands, wrapping cheese in grape leaves, and milking/feeding livestock, without hand washing between those activities.
  • The owner wore manure soiled clothing during production of cheese, handling of utensils and direct handling of finished product.  The owner was observed kneeling in fresh cow manure, while milking a cow outside, then brushed pants with a bare hand and was later observed standing over a bucket of drained curd in the cheese room with the soiled pants coming into direct contact with the edge of the bucket.
  • The hand washing sink’s drain pipe and water supply lines were disconnected.  Also, the two-compartment processing room sink was not set up for hand washing and there were no towels or soap available at either sink.
  • The well water supply for the facility indicated an elevated total coliform level.
  • Wood fixtures, walls and floors generally soiled and stained with grime and dirt.  The floors had accumulations of manure, mud, straw, wood chips, and other debris.  Several areas of the ceiling had black mold-like deposits.  Wood shelving, work tables and cheese storage boxes were noted throughout the facility with accumulated product, grime and black mold-like deposits.
  • Holes, open cracks, water damage and peeling paint/plaster in several ceiling and upper wall locations directly above exposed cheese on storage shelves.  A section of the cheese room ceiling is unfinished with exposed bolts and insulation above the sink and clean utensil storage.
  • Jerry Few

    You can cook up the best tasting food in the world, but not know basic sanitary rules is just astounding, But yet it happens everyday, street food, artisan cheese, unpasteurized milk, bakery goods, and my favorite sausages, the old mystery in a bag. I personally think that the food safety laws in the USA suck…..but then, maybe they are needed for people like this who just won’t take the time to clean up the joint.
    Aww what the hell, eat it and enjoy it, later you will find out if….
    Now if there was just someway to enforce basic hygiene in the FF chains.

  • Anon

    Perhaps you should take into consideration that this lady has been providing gourmet cheese for well over 30 years, and in those years not one ill case. Everyone is so quick to turn an ugly face with one foul report, with ugly words, smearing honorable names.I’d rather eat her raw cheese over that processed crap ANY day, even post-issues.