The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that one person has died and at least four more have been hospitalized due a listeria infection, including a pregnant woman who suffered a miscarriage. The outbreak has been linked to cheese distributed by the Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company based in Waterloo, Wisconsin. The cheeses were distributed nationwide through retail and food-service outlets as well as by mail orders.
States reporting infected persons include Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio.
- Les Frères (LF225 2/2.5 lbs.) with a make date of 7-1-13 or prior, packaged in white plastic with a green and gold label.
- Petit Frère (PF88 8/8 oz.) with a make date of 7-1-13 or prior, packaged in small round wooden boxes
- Petit Frère with Truffles cheese (PF88T 8/8 oz.) with a make date of 7-1-13 or prior, packaged in small round wooden boxes.
After being informed by regulatory agencies of an ongoing investigation, Crave Brothers immediately ceased the production and distribution of the products. Subsequently, Whole Foods announced it had pulled the recalled cheeses from their shelves.
Listeria (Listeria monocytogenes)
Listeriosis is a serious infection typically caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Older adults, pregnant women, newborns, adults with weakened immune systems, are most commonly at risk, however anyone can be affected. Patients taking corticosteroids as well as those undergoing chemotherapy are especially susceptible to infection.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “A person with listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Almost everyone who is diagnosed with listeriosis has ‘invasive’ infection, in which the bacteria spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract.” Symptoms may vary:
- Pregnant women: Pregnant women typically experience fever and other non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue and aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
- Persons other than pregnant women: Symptoms, in addition to fever and muscle aches, can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions.
Consumers who have purchased any of these products are urged not to consume them. They can return the cheese to the place of purchase for a full refund or discard it. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 920-478-4887, Monday-Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.
The CDC’s website has more information on the outbreak and ways you can reduce your risk for listeriosis.
“Recent Listeria Outbreak Linked to Cheese” by Robert Glatter, MD, Forbes, July 7, 2013.