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The Region : 23 Stores Accused of Illegal Cheese Sales

January 25, 1987

Misdemeanor charges were filed by the Los Angeles city attorney's office against 23 local market owners for allegedly selling illegally made Mexican-style soft cheese. Prosecutors said the charges stemmed from a two-day raid on the markets by county health inspectors after tests confirmed the presence of Listeria bacteria in soft cheese found last July in a South Los Angeles market. In 1985, Jalisco Mexican-style cheese contaminated with the bacteria left at least 39 people dead in the nation's worst food-poisoning outbreak. Deputy City Atty. Ruth Kwan said the markets charged with violating the state Health and Safety Code were unable to show proof that the cheese came from a legally licensed manufacturer or distributor. A number of the defendants are also charged with operating without a valid county Health Department permit. The defendants are to be arraigned Feb. 19. If convicted, they could be jailed and fined.

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