The Deseret News reports that a long investigation by Utah public health officials has identified queso fresco, a soft Mexican cheese, as the cause of a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened as many as 2,000 people over 3 years.  Astonishing.

Officials with the Salt Lake Valley Health Department have tracked the source of a three-year outbreak of salmonella to an unauthorized food producer in Salt Lake City.

A man referred to as “Mr. Cheese” was apparently producing queso fresco in his home using raw milk.

Since 2009, health department officials noticed an increase in the number of salmonella Newport cases and believe as many as 2,000 Utahns in six counties — Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Morgan, Tooele and Utah — may have been affected, said Dr. Royal DeLegge, director of Salt Lake Valley Health Department’s Environmental Health Division.

Of course, Mr. Cheese should face more than just civil lawsuits.  The sale of raw milk in Utah is only allowed from farms directly to consumers.  Plus, the environmental contamination that has to occur for a single producer to persist as a source of infection for 3 straight years is more than a little frightening to think about.