January 19, 2018

Crave Brothers Cheese Linked to Six Listeria Cases; One Death in Minnesota

Six people have been sickened in a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Crave Brothers Farmstead cheeses. The outbreak case count is: Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Minnesota (2), Ohio (1), and Texas (1). One person in Minnesota has died. All six people were hospitalized as a result of their illness. In addition, one pregnant women suffered a miscarriage. The case in Texas is new to the outbreak since the last update in July 2013.

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An investigation by local and state public health officials, the CDC, and the FDA indicates that Les Frères, Petit Frère, and Petit Frère with Truffles cheeses made by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company are the likely source of this outbreak. The cheese was recalled on July 3, 2013.  The firm has stopped production and the FDA is monitoring corrective action. Five of the six patients either definitely or probably ate the cheese made by Crave Brothers before becoming ill.

Crave Brothers Cheese Recall and Outbreak

At an inspection at the Crave Brothers facility in July 2013, the FDA collected a sample of Petit Frère with Truffles that had the outbreak strain of the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. In addition, whole genome sequencing is being used to define the outbreak strain, which helps clarify which illnesses are related to this particular outbreak.

Illness dates range from May 20, 2013 to July 7, 2013. Ill persons range in age from 30 to 67 years, with a median age of 55 years. Eighty-three percent of case patients are female. Clinical specimens collected after August 10, 2013 may not be reported yet due to the two to three weeks it usually takes between illness onset and reporting that illness to authorities.

Check your home for the recalled cheese. If you have purchased this cheese, do not eat it. Throw it away in a sealed container so animals can’t get at it. Wash the cheese drawer and other places where it was stored with hot water and soap, then sanitize the area with a solution of one tablespoon chlorine beach to one gallon hot water. Wash your hands after you sanitize the kitchen.  This is especially important for pregnant women, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems and chronic diseases. You can read more about the CDC’s advice to consumers.

The symptoms of a Listeria infection include flu-like fever and muscle aches, upset stomach or diarrhea, stiff neck, headache, loss of balance, or convulsions. Pregnant women may have only mild flu-like symptoms, but the infection can result in stillbirth or miscarriage, as happened in this outbreak. Unfortunately, the symptoms of a Listeria infection can take up to 70 days to manifest. If you ate this cheese in June 2013 and are now suffering symptoms, you could be part of this outbreak. See your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

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