Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has filed suit on behalf of a client injured by Listeria monocytogenes in soft cheese, has called for more testing of cheeses for Listeria contamination. “The lawsuit pointed to the need for the expanded recall of Frescolina Ricotta Salata cheese,” he said. “The hope is that it will be a catalyst for additional testing of cheeses for Listeria contamination and that any other cheeses potentially contaminated with the dangerous pathogen will be recalled.”
The lawsuit was filed one week ago against Whole Foods Market and Forever Cheese, the importer. His client is the one CDC-confirmed Listeria case from Pennsylvania. The case count in the nationwide outbreak is as follows: California (1), Colorado (1), District of Columbia (1), Maryland (3), Minnesota (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1). Three people died in the outbreak.
The recalled cheese most likely contaminated other cheeses when it was cut and processed into smaller pieces for resale. According to court documents filed by Pritzker, Whole Foods processed Frescolina Ricotta Salata by removing it from the original packaging, cutting it into smaller pieces, and repackaging and relabeling it for resale. The cheese was distributed in Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington D.C., FLorida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington state between September 1, 2011 and August 31, 2012.
If you or anyone you know has eaten cheese and experienced the symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning, including fever, muscle aches, headache, diarrhea, and upset stomach, contact your health care provider immediately. The complications of a Listeria infection can be severe, including meningitis and septicemia.