Health

Deadly Cheese Recall Expanded

| by Michael Doherty

A creamery that sells its cheeses at Whole Foods Markets grocery stores has expanded its deadly cheese recall to new locations in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

The raw milk cheeses, which were made by Vulto Creamery and sold at Whole Foods and specialty cheese shops, were discovered to contain a strain of Listeria monocytogenes that have caused two deaths and six illnesses so far, Food Safety News reports. The company is advising anyone who has purchased the cheeses to throw them away and bring in their receipts for a full refund.

Cheeses affected by the expanded recall include Vulto Creamery Andes, Hamden and Walton Umber raw milk cheeses. The affected cheese had "sell by" dates from 01/02/2017 to 4/02/2017 and were sold wrapped in clear plastic.

The original recall included the company's Ouleout, Miranda, Heinennellie and Willowemoc cheeses.

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Whole Foods stores that carried the potentially deadly cheese were in New York City; Brooklyn, New York; Port Chester, New York; Hingham, Massachusetts; and Clark and Paramus, New Jersey. Vulto Creamery is based in Walton, New York.

The two reported deaths linked to the outbreak were in Vermont and Connecticut. Those who have become ill from the cheese reportedly included children as young as 1 year old and people as old as 89, according to WPIX.

The Connecticut Department of Health is reportedly investigating a death that may be linked to the cheese, while the widow of a man who died in Vermont has filed a lawsuit against Vulto Creamery.

Veronica Friedman, 73, has filed suit for her husband, Richard Friedman's death, which she said happened in November 2016 after he became sick in October.

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Listeriosis is a potentially deadly infection caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, which can be found in contaminated foods including dairy, cured meats and vegetables. The infection can be especially dangerous for young children, elderly people and pregnant women, for whom it can cause stillbirth or miscarriage. Symptoms of listeriosis include fevers, muscle aches, gastrointestinal issues and diarrhea.

Healthy people who are affected by listeriosis will generally only experience temporary symptoms of fever, headache, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Anyone with symptoms of listeriosis is advised to seek help from a medical professional.

Vulto Creamery first issued a recall in early March, after receiving notice of a positive test for listeria bacteria from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company has suspended production of its cheeses while it investigates alongside the FDA, after the FDA confirmed it had identified samples that matched the genetic fingerprint of the same bacteria in the listeria outbreak.

In February, Sargento Foods Inc., one of America's largest producers of cheese, announced recalls of a number of Sargento cheese products because of concern about a possible listeria contamination. The company later reported "no confirmed illnesses" from its cheeses.

Sources: WPIX, Food Safety News / Photo credit: Shelleylyn/Flickr

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