Homemade cheese – sometimes called "bathtub cheese" or "illegal cheese" – is a threat to your health and the health of your family.
Soft or fresh cheese that is made by unlicensed manufacturers is often prepared under unsanitary conditions. Usually unlicensed cheesemakers use raw, unpasteurized milk which can encourage the growth of harmful bacteria. In California, Salmonella and Listeria are the two bacteria most frequently found in dairy products processed by unlicensed cheesemakers.
While the bacteria cannot be detected by sight, taste or smell, it can cause the following:
- Severe illness, especially among infants, the elderly and those with impaired immune systems
- Infection that may spread to the bloodstream and cause illness or death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics
- Illness to unborn babies
- Abdominal cramps – beginning 12 to72 hours after infection, and usually lasting 4 to 7 days
Read more at the California Department of Food and Agriculture's website.