Mr. Cheese sickens up to 2100 with bathtub queso fresco, gets off with a fine

Fidel Gomez — initially dubbed "Mr. Cheese" by state regulators — was issued a citation and ordered to pay a $500 fine for violating the Utah Dairy Act for producing and selling homemade queso fresco that was the source of an outbreak of Salmonella Newport in Utah going back to 2009.

Reports have placed the number of confirmed cases between 40 and 80, but have said the unreported cases may be in the thousands.

The news release states that Gomez was producing the cheese in his West Valley City home without the proper sanitation equipment or a license or permit. At least one Salt Lake Valley restaurant, in turn, was selling the cheese.

The cheese probe took three years, involved a criminal investigator and extended to a fast-food franchise where Mr. Cheese’s wife worked.