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CDC completes cheese-contamination investigation

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Federal officials say illnesses linked to award-winning Wisconsin cheeses were most likely caused by deficient sanitation in the manufacturing process. The U-S Centers for Disease Control mentioned last summer's listeria outbreak involving Crave Brothers of Waterloo in its weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report. The F-D-A said one person in Minnesota died, and another person had a miscarriage. Five illnesses occurred in four Midwest states but not Wisconsin.

The C-D-C said an inspection revealed quote, "substantial sanitation deficiencies during the cheese-making process itself, after the milk was pasteurized." The report said the problems quote, "likely led to contamination." The C-D-C said cheese-making plants should use strict sanitation and micro-biologic monitoring, whether they use pasteurized milk or not.

Crave Brothers did not comment. It voluntarily stopped cheese production soon after the illnesses came to light, and recalled three award-winning cheeses that were linked to the listeria outbreak.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the company was never fined, and checks of court records did not turn up any lawsuits.