State health officials yesterday discovered another cheese suspected in the outbreak of a deadly infection and issued a warning not to eat any cheeses made by Jalisco Mexican Products, Inc.
The cheeses have been linked to 38 deaths and scores of illnesses, making it the nation's deadliest tainted food case in this century.
California Health Director Kenneth Kizer urged consumers not to buy or eat any Jalisco cheeses because of the deadly contamination.
The warning was issued after state officials discovered another Jalisco cheese, Menonita, during the disposal of 100 tons of cheese.
Menonita, believed to have had very limited distribution in southern California, was not listed among cheeses originally recalled by state officials, said Pete Weisser, a state health services spokesman. "We just became aware of it today," he said.
The outbreak, caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, is centered in southern California, but deaths or illnesses linked to the cheese have been reported elsewhere in the state and in Texas, Colorado and Oregon.
Meanwhile, federal investigators worked to confirm preliminary state tests linking the deadly contamination to faulty pasteurization equipment at Jalisco's cheese plant.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture said Friday that initial dye tests on machinery at the plant showed that raw milk apparently seeped through pin-sized holes in heat-transfer plates that separated raw milk from milk being pasteurized.