Raw Farm lifts recall, says CDC’s E. coli warning was unfounded

The Fresno dairy farm’s cheese was tested extensively after the CDC issued an E. coli outbreak warning.

Aaron McAfee, President of Fresno’s Raw Farm, says there was no evidence that the dairy farm’s products were linked to an E. coli outbreak. 

Further, McAfee claims the head of the Food and Drug Administration is biased against raw dairy products. 


The backstory: On Feb. 16 the Centers for Disease Control issued a food safety alert, saying Raw Farm brand raw cheddar cheese was contaminated with E. coli. 

  • The CDC said there were 10 illnesses across four states and four hospitalizations linked to the E. coli outbreak. 
  • Raw Farm agreed to recall its cheddar cheese products and work with the FDA on testing. 
  • Raw Farm produces dairy products that have not been pasteurized. 

Driving the news: McAfee sent out a press release this week saying hundreds of Raw Farm products were reviewed and tested by the FDA, multiple state health agencies and private laboratories, and there were not any pathogens found. 

  • Raw Farm has lifted its recall, saying it was unfounded, and is directing all stores and consumers to use the products with confidence. 

Go deeper: Raw Farm says the FDA and CDC reached out on Feb. 15 with a half an hour notice for an urgent conference call about the cheddar cheese, saying the product may have caused illnesses from Oct. 18, 2023, through Jan. 31. 

  • McAfee said “about half of the ill people denied” having any products from Raw Farm. 
  • Three hours before the deadline the agencies gave to Raw Farm to issue a recall on Feb. 16, the CDC and FDA announced the outbreak, issuing a de facto mandatory recall. 
  • Raw Farm did not receive any evidence about an E. coli outbreak linked to its products but issued a voluntary recall. 
  • McAfee also pointed to a LinkedIn post from Stic Harris, the Director of Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network for the FDA, which he says shows biased against Raw Farm products.  
  • “While my personal opinion is you should never drink raw milk or eat raw milk products, you certainly don’t want to eat raw milk cheese linked to an ongoing outbreak,” Harris posted.
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