Listeria Recall: Cambrook Foods’ Low-Protein Imitation Cream Cheese

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just announced that Cambrooke Foods has voluntarily recalled all of its Low Protein Imitation Cream Cheese products over a possible <"">listeria contamination and, as a precaution, is also withdrawing all of its Peanot Butter™ product.  The recalled Cambrooke Foods, Low Protein Imitation Cream Cheese products include:  “Cheddar Wizard,” “Herb & Garlic,” and “Plain” flavors.

Cambrooke Foods® has implemented the voluntary recall as a precaution because some imitation cream cheese products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which causes listeriosis, a serious and sometimes fatal infection.  The listeria bacteria was detected during routine batch testing that occurred prior to shipment, and was found in batches of Imitation Cream Cheese at the company’s Randolph, Massachusetts facility.  Those batches of Imitation Cream Cheese products were destroyed and never shipped to customers and no illnesses have been reported for any batch of Imitation Cream Cheese.

Cambrooke Foods® is also conducting a market withdrawal of all batches of its Low Protein Peanot Butter™ because that food product is produced using the same machinery that is used to produce the Imitation Cream Cheese products.  No other Cambrooke Foods® product is produced using this machinery.  Testing has not confirmed Listeria contamination in any batch of Low Protein Peanot Butter™ and no adverse events been reported as a result of its consumption.

These Cambrooke Foods® products are sold to customers with special dietary needs and are distributed directly to consumers and to a  limited number of distributors in the U.S. and Canada.

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium found in soil, vegetation, raw milk, meat, poultry, cheeses (particularly soft mold-ripened cheeses), and salad vegetables.  The listeria bacteria can cause illness in humans and is responsible for an estimated 2,500 illnesses in the United States annually, with about 200 in every 1,000 cases resulting in death.  The bacteria can grow at low temperatures, including in refrigerator environments, but cooking of food and pasteurization of milk can destroy the listeria bacteria.  Listeria often invades the body through a normal and intact gastrointestinal tract and, once in the body, can travel through the blood stream; the bacteria are often found inside cells where toxins are produced resulting in damaged cells.

Listeriosis can take days, even weeks, to develop and can present in anything from a mild flu-like illness to meningitis and septicemia.  In pregnant women, spontaneous abortion, miscarriage, or the birth of an infected child can occur.  Pregnant women are about 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to be infected with listeriosis; about one-third of listeriosis cases take place during pregnancy.  The incidence of listeriosis in newborns is 8.6 cases per 100,000 live births. The perinatal and neonatal mortality rate (stillbirths and early infant deaths) from listeriosis is an astronomical 80%.  Those whose immune systems are compromised—such as people with HIV/AIDs or patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment—the very young, and the very old are also at particular risk for listeriosis contamination and illness.  All at-risk individuals are advised to avoid certain foods, such as soft mold-ripened cheeses, pates, and raw milk because the risk of infection is very high in these foods.

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