Maryland health officials are warning consumers that Picnic Gourmet Spreads may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Consumers who have purchased these cheese spreads should not eat them as Listeria can cause serious illness or death. No illnesses had been reported at the time of the recall.
The recalled products include: Red Pepper Feta Cheese Spread, Moroccan Cilantro Cheese Spread, Tandoori Garlic Cheese Spread, Herbed Goat Cheese, Parmesan Cheese Spread, and Chipotle Sage Cheese Spread. They were distributed to retail stores in Maryland and other states including Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
The company has ceased production and distribution of these products while the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene continues its investigation into the source of the problem. The department urges consumers who purchased the spreads to throw them away.
Listeria can cause a serious infection called listeriosis. Symptoms usually develop within three days to 10 weeks after consumption. They include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, which can be preceded by nausea or diarrhea.
Those at higher risk for disease include pregnant women, newborns, seniors and individuals with a weakened immune systems. Listeriosis in pregnant women may cause fever and other flu-like symptoms, which can be mild but also cause premature labor, premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth or severe infection of newborns.