April 17, 2024

Whole Foods Recalled Vulto Creamery Cheese

The listeriosis outbreak linked to recalled Vulto washed-rind raw milk cheeses has sickened six people in four states. Two people have died in this outbreak. All six patients were hospitalized, including a newborn baby who was diagnosed with listeriosis.

Ouleout Cheese Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak

And there’s a mystery in this Listeria monocytogenes outbreak. We don’t know exactly where the recalled cheeses that caused these illnesses were sold.

The Vulto Creamery cheese has been linked to the outbreak through whole genome sequencing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and epidemiological evidence. Labs in two states found the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes in Ouleout cheese. The New York Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services took three intact wheels of that type of cheese from the Vulto Creamery during an inspection and found the bacteria.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health collected leftover cheeses from the home of one of the persons who died in this outbreak. And they found the outbreak strain of Listeria in cheese that the family identified as Ouleout cheese from Vulto Creamery.

Six of the six patients, or their families, were interviewed about what they ate before they got sick. All said they ate a soft cheese. And cheese made by Vulto Creamery was for sale at stores where at least five of the patients bought cheese before they got sick.

Vulto Creamery recalled “all soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses” on March 7, 2017. In that recall notice, they state that cheeses were “distributed nationwide.” We also know that most of the products were sold in Chicago, Illinois; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; California; the Mid-Atlantic States; and the northeastern states.

The people who were sickened in this outbreak live in Connecticut, New York and Vermont. One ill person lives in Florida, but that patient ate raw milk cheese during a visit to New York state.

Whole Foods recalled Vulto Creamery Ouleout and Miranda soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses from nine specific stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and New York on March 8, 2017. They name the addresses of the stores in the outbreak notice. And the recall notice specifically mentions Ouleout lot # 617 and Ouleout lot #623. The Whole Foods recall states, “No illnesses have been reported to date.”

So where were the cheeses sold? The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) released another statement yesterday about this outbreak. Most of the information is repeated from the initial CDC announcement. One of the people who died in this outbreak lived in Connecticut.

The statement from DPH reads, “DPH is aware that Whole Foods grocery in Connecticut had received cheese from Vulto for retail sales in its Fairfield location and has initiated its own recall. FDA is currently collecting additional distribution information from the creamery. Specialty cheese shops in Connecticut who carry Vulto Creamery cheeses may have received recalled product and should check their inventory.”

We’ll keep you informed about this outbreak and where the cheeses were sold. We hope that the FDA will release a distribution list soon. If you bought any of the recalled cheeses, discard them immediately. Wash your hands after handling them. And if you have been sick and you ate any of the recalled soft washed rind raw milk cheeses from Vulto Creamery, see your doctor. Listeriosis is a serious illness and can cause death.


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