October 16, 2018

Listeria Halts Operations at Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese

Listeria in raw cow’s milk cheese from Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese and unsanitary conditions at its plant in Trumansburg, NY have led to a suspension of operations. On April 28, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara of the Western District of New York entered a consent decree of permanent injunction between the United States, the company and its co-owner Nancy Taber Richards.

finger-lakes-farmstead-listeria-cheeseListeria monocytogenes is a foodborne bacteria that can cause serious illness and death. No illnesses were reported in connection with Finger Lakes Farmstead, but a recent Listeria outbreak linked to soft cheese made by another company sickened eight people, killing one of them. Young children, seniors, pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems are most at risk for Listeria infections. In pregnant women, Listeria infections can cause miscarriage and stillbirth.

“The FDA repeatedly advised the company and its owner of the insanitary conditions at the facility,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “When a company continues to produce food that presents a risk for consumers, the FDA will take regulatory action to protect the public’s health.”
Under the consent decree, Finger Lakes is barred from receiving, preparing, processing, packing, holding and distributing food products food until it develops a program to eliminate Listeria monocytogenes from its facility and products.  The company must hire an independent lab that will collect and analyze samples for Listeria, hire an independent sanitation expert, create a Listeria control program, train all employees in sanitary food handling and destroy all food items currently in the facility. If the company is permitted to resume operations, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can require product recalls or cease production if additional violations occur.
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