Karoun Dairies has released photos of the cheeses recalled for Listeria monocytogenes contamination. These cheeses are linked to a Listeria outbreak in this country that has sickened at least 24 people in nine states. One person in Ohio has died, and one pregnant women suffered a miscarriage. Additional illnesses are under investigation, according to the CDC.
You can see pictures of the recalled products at the FDA web site. Look at them carefully. If you ate any of these products over the past five years and suffered the symptoms of a Listeria infection, see your doctor.
The headline of the CDC article is “Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Soft Cheeses”, but in the report, they state that “the investigation has not conclusively identified the source of this outbreak, but most ill people interviewed reported eating soft cheese before becoming ill.”
In fact, 82% of the 22 persons interviewed in this outbreak ate soft cheese before they got sick. And 57% of ill people reported eating brands distributed by Karoun Dairies before their illness began. No other brand of cheese was reported more than once.
The long list of recalled cheeses, along with UPC numbers and use-by dates, is listed at the CDC site. They were sold under these brands: Karoun, Arz, Gopi, Queso Del Valle, Central Valley Creamery, and Yanni. The cheeses are sold vacuum packed, in jars or pails, in weights from 5 ounces to 30 pounds. They were also sold in restaurants. The types of cheeses sold include Ackawi, California, Cotija, Farmers Goat Fresh, Fresh Cheese/Panela, Feta, Goat Milk Feta, Mozzarella, Paneer, Queso Blanco, String Cheese, Ani, Nabulsi, and Yanni Grilling.
Please look at the UPC numbers and pictures of the cheeses carefully. If you purchased any of these cheeses, do not eat them. Discard in a sealed plastic bag in a trash can with a tight lid, or return to the place of purchase for a refund.
Unfortunately, Listeria monocytogenes bacteria can grow at refrigerator temperatures. That means the cheese got more dangerous as it sat under refrigeration. You need to clean out your refrigerator with a mild bleach solution of 1 tablespoon bleach per gallon of water to kill any bacteria that may be there. Wash cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils that were used on the cheese. If you can’t use a dishwasher, use hot water and soap followed by the bleach solution. Then wash your hands with soap and water.
While the symptoms of listeriosis can take up to 70 days to appear, most people get sick within a few days, up to 3 weeks. If you do develop symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning, see your doctor immediately.
The symptoms include muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, loss of balance, flu-like fever, upset stomach, and diarrhea. Pregnant women may only have a mild illness, but this infection can cause stillbirth and miscarriage. The baby can also be born with this infection, which can be fatal. The infection can be treated with antibiotics, and best outcomes occur when this happens early.