The Trib reports state public health officials suspect an “illegal Mexican-style cheese manufacturer” is responsible for 32 cases of salmonella poisoning since January 2006. Investigators isolated salmonella Newport from a sample of unlabeled cheese seized in an Aurora carniceria, and Kane County Health Department deputy director Paul Kuehnert is ready to damn all queso.

‘”Anyone that has white, Mexican-style cheeses in their possession should immediately dispose of those cheeses. It may not be safe, and it may make them ill,” he said.

“We’re not saying this [salmonella-tainted cheese] is 100 percent the cause of our illness outbreak in Kane County,” he said. But “it looks very likely. … ‘We are issuing this warning particularly for cheeses that may have been unlabeled or are questionably labeled and were bought either from street vendors or Hispanic stores,’ he said.”

Sounding a bit less like a Minuteman with a tummyache, the health dept Web site specifically mentions queso fresco and cotija as possible culprits, and allows that “Legitimate, wholesome Mexican-style cheeses are available in the refrigerated case at retail stores and authenticated by label information.”

Whew.