Listeria Concerns Prompt Ricotta Cheese Recall

Concerns about the dangerous, sometimes deadly, food borne pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes, have prompted a recall of ricotta cheese, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) just announced. To date, there have been 14 reported illnesses in 11 states which may be related to this potential contamination.

Forever Cheese issued a recall for all of its Ricotta Salata Frescolina brand, Forever Cheese lot # T9425, and/or production code 441202. The recalled ricotta cheese is from one specific production date.

The cheese was sold to distributors for retailers and restaurants in the following states and was also sold to supermarkets, restaurants, and wholesale distributors: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC, between June 20 and August 9, 2012.

The potential for contamination was discovered after an illness was reported in connection with consumption of the recalled ricotta cheese. All distributors and retailers are being contacted by Forever Cheese to ensure all remaining recalled ricotta in the marketplace is removed. The firm advises consumers in possession of any of the recalled ricotta cheese to contact their distributor or retailer for a full refund. Jeff DiMeo of Forever Cheese may be reached, toll-free, at 1.888.930.8693, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST); mention “Recall.”

The Listeria pathogen is unique because it thrives in colder temperatures, such as those found in refrigerated environments. Listeria also has an unusually long incubation period—up to 70 days—according to experts. The pathogen also well tolerates heat and dry temperatures, adding further challenges to the pathogen’s eradication and length to expected reporting time frames.

Listeriosis, the food borne disease caused by the Listeria pathogen, is dangerous and can be deadly, causing serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer short-term symptoms, such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In pregnant women,

Listeriosis can result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or birth of a baby suffering from the infection. Pregnant women are about 20 times likelier than others to be infected, with about one-third of all Listeriosis cases occurring during pregnancy. Listeriosis can also kill fetuses, prompt premature births, and can lead to hearing loss or brain damage in newborns and neurological effects and cardio respiratory failure in adults.

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