Multi-state Listeria Outbreak Linked to Cheese

listeria_cheese_outbreakOn July 3, 2013, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company of Waterloo, Wisconsin voluntarily recalled its Les Frères, Petit Frère, and Petit Frère with Truffles cheeses due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The outbreak has so far caused five illnesses in four states—Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois and Ohio—with one death and a miscarriage attributed to listeriosis, according to CNN.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the recalled cheeses were distributed nationwide through retail and foodservice outlets as well as by mail order.  The CDC said that consumers who have any of the recalled cheeses on hand should throw them away.  Avoiding contaminated cheese is especially important for pregnant women, the CDC says, because they are at highest risk for infection and serious outcomes, as are older adults and those with weakened immune systems.

Listeriosis symptoms include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms, the CDC says. An infected person might also have headaches, a stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions. An infected pregnant woman typically experiences fever and nonspecific symptoms, such as fatigue and aches.  Listeria infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature deliver, or life-threatening infection of the newborn. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is inspecting the Crave Brothers’ processing facility in coordination with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. The FDA is working closely with the CDC, Crave Brothers, and public health authorities in states where illnesses occurred to determine the exact cause of contamination.



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