The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) issued a warning to consumers to avoid consuming certain cheese and milk products over potential contamination with the Listeria, said The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to the FDA, the presence of Listeria in foods represents a significant danger to public health. The FDA also noted that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a health alert on November 24, 2011, notifying Canadian residents of a voluntary recall initiated by the dairy plant, 3903052 Canada Inc., Boisbriand, in Québec. This large recall followed two prior alerts, extensive product testing, and a clinical match to a case of listeriosis, the illness called by Listeria.
The FDA notified the MDPH on December 28, 2011, that cheese product was distributed to Cedar Market in Norwood, Massachusetts. Cedar Market is a retail establishment, which also sold the following products to Bahnan’s in Worcester, Massachusetts. The recalled cheese products were distributed in Massachusetts and bear the brand name “Fromagerie Marie Kade.” All the recalled cheese products involved bear establishment number 1874. Any Best Before dates, up to and including those listed, are affected by the alert:
• Akawi Cheese: Best Before 08 MAR 2012
• Baladi Cheese: Best Before 08 FEB 2012.
• Shinglish Cheese: Best Before 07 NOV 2012
• Tresse Cheese: Best Before 10 NOV 2012
• Vachekaval Cheese: Best Before 10 MAR 2012
• Halloom: Best Before 01 MAY 2012
• Moujadale: Best Before 04 MAY 2012
Although no illnesses have been reported in Massachusetts, to date, it is important to bear in mind that the Listeria pathogen has an unusually long incubation period of up to 70 days, according to experts. Also, the Listeria pathogen thrives in colder temperatures, such as those found in refrigerated environments.
Listeriosis is potentially fatal and can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, abdominal cramps and pain, diarrhea, and nausea, especially in those with weakened immune systems, infants, and the elderly. Listeriosis can lead to hearing loss or brain damage in newborns, and can lead to neurological effects and cardio respiratory failure in adults. Vulnerable populations, such as the developing fetus, can suffer serious central nervous system problems, and the infection can prompt premature births, or the death of the fetus via miscarriages and stillbirths. Pregnant women are 20 times likelier to become infected.
Since the recalled products have not expired, it is possible that consumers may have products in their home; therefore, the MDPH advises consumers who have purchased the recalled products to discard them. The MDPH Food Protection Program can be reached at 1.617.983.6712.