July 14, 2024

Vulto Creamery Pleads Guilty In Connection With Listeria Outbreak

Vulto Creamery has pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce in connection to a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to that dairy’s cheese in 2016 and 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. In that outbreak, the soft raw milk cheese sickened at least eight people in four states, and two people died.

Vulto Creamery Pleads Guilty In Connection With Listeria Outbreak

Johannes Vulto oversaw operations at the Vulto Creamery manufacturing facility in Walton, New York, including sanitation and environmental monitoring. By entering the guilty plea, Vulto admits that between December 2014 and March 2017, they shipped adulterated cheese.

Environmental swabs that were taken at the facility between July 2014 and February 2017 repeatedly tested positive for various Listeria species; some species of this pathogen are harmful to human health and some are not. In March 2017, after the FDA linked the raw milk cheese to the outbreak, Vulto shut down the creamery and issued a partial recall that was expanded to a full recall in weeks.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. said in a statement, “It is crucial that American consumers be able to trust that the foods they buy are safe to eat. The department will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to hold responsible food manufacturers that sell dangerously contaminated products.”

U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman for the Northern District of New York added, “This investigation and prosecution holds accountable the defendant and his business who through unsafe practices caused illness and death to consumers in an entirely preventable tragedy. The law enforcement and regulatory partners involved in this case will continue to work together to bring to justice those who endanger the public through unsafe and unsanitary products and facilities.”

Vulto and Vulto creamery pleaded guilty before Magistrate Judge Thérèse Wiley Dancks in Syracuse, New York. A sentencing date will be set by the court.


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