September 18, 2014

Multi-State Listeria Outbreak Linked To Forever Cheese Includes Ohio and Colorado

A Colorado resident and an Ohio resident are among the 14 people who have been sickened in an 11-state outbreak of listeriosis linked to Frescolina brand Ricotta Salata by Forever Cheese, state public health officials told Food Poisoning Bulletin today. The outbreak was announced last night by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The case patient in Ohio is a 29-year-old female living in Franklin County, according to a health department spokeswoman. Specific information about the Colorado patient was not available.

Ricotta salata is a pressed and dried variation of ricotta cheese which is usually made with sheep’s milk. The recalled cheese was distributed to restaurants, retailers and wholesalers in 18 states and the District of Columbia between June 20 and August 9, 2012.  They are being contacted with recall information and the cheese should soon be removed from store shelves. Consumers who have already purchased the cheese should not eat it.

The FDA has not yet released a case count by state. The recalled cheese had a production date code of 441202 and was initially distributed to the following states: CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MT, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, PA, VA, WA, and the District of Columbia.

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that can cause serious illnesses and death, hospitalization is required in about 90 percent of cases. Symptoms of a Listeria infection, called listeriosis, include fever, muscle aches, upset stomach and diarrhea. Young children, seniors and pregnant women are those most at risk.  While pregnant women may only experience mild symtpoms, Listeria can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and birth defects.  Consumers who have eaten this cheese and develop symptoms should see a health care provider.

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