October 17, 2017

Listeria Outbreak in Rhode Island Prompts Warning of Raw Cheese

A Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has sickened two people in Rhode Island, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health. This outbreak has prompted officials to issue a health warning about unpasteurized queso fresco (Mexican cheese). Queso fresco is a type of soft Mexican cheese. All cheeses, including Queso fresco, queso blanco, panela, and asadero-style cheeses are only considered safe when they are marked with a professional label stating that they are "pasteurized" or "made from pasteurized milk." Homemade queso fresco is sometimes made with raw milk. Raw milk can be contaminated with pathogens that can cause serious illness. The pasteurization process kills pathogenic bacteria. The warning especially applies to pregnant women, who can suffer serious complications … [Read more...]

Whole Foods Expands Listeria Vulto Creamery Cheese Recall

In response to Vulto Creamery's expanded recall of raw milk cheeses for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination over the weekend, Whole Foods Market is expanding its recall of their products. These cheese were sold in eight stores in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. As of March 10, 2017, Vulto Creamery is reporting that the bacteria is responsible for six illnesses and two deaths. But Whole Foods Market has not received any reports of illness or injuries from customers who purchased the raw cheeses from their stores. The recall expansion includes Vulto Creamery Andes, Hamden, and Walton Umber raw milk cheeses. They were cut and packaged in clear plastic wrap with scale labels beginning with PLU codes 0200307, 0201357 or 0206308 and "sell by" dates from 01/02/2017 to … [Read more...]

History of Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreaks Linked to Cheese

Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks don't occur very often. About 1,600 Americans are sickened every year by this pathogenic bacteria. But when they do occur people are seriously sickened and some die. So how many listeriosis outbreaks have been linked to cheeses? In the last five years, there have been six outbreaks linked to cheese products caused  by this pathogenic bacteria. In five of the outbreaks, the cheeses were made from pasteurized milk, but were contaminated after that process. In the current outbreak, the cheeses were made from raw, or unpasteurized, milk. Most of these outbreaks are linked to soft cheeses. In 2015, a listeriosis outbreak linked to soft cheeses produced by Karoun Dairies of California sickened 30 people in 10 states, killing three and causing one … [Read more...]

FDA On Vulto Creamery Ouleout Cheese Listeria Outbreak

The FDA has released information about its investigation into the deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to recalled Vulto raw milk soft cheeses. Ouleout cheese from that dairy in Walton, New York has been identified as the "likely source" of the outbreak that has sickened six people in four states. Two of those six people have died. The FDA, CDC, and state government agencies have been investigating this outbreak since January 31, 2017. Ouleout cheese from Vulto Creamery tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in early March, and the company began contacting its customers, asking them to return the product. On March 7, 2017, Vulto recalled that cheese along with Miranda, Heinennellie, and Willowemoc cheese varieties. Then, on March 8, 2017, the FDA was told that … [Read more...]

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. 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 … [Read more...]

Two Dead, Six Ill in Vulto Raw Milk Cheese Listeria Outbreak

The CDC has announced a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak is linked to soft raw milk cheese produced by Vulto Creamery in Walton, New York. Two people have died and six are sickened in this outbreak. The case count by state is: New York (3), Florida (1), Vermont (1), and Connecticut (1). Illnesses began on September 1, 2016. All six patients were hospitalized. One person from Connecticut and one person from Vermont died. One illness was reported in a newborn. Infants can be born with Listeria monocytogenes infections when their mothers eat products contaminated with the bacteria. The bacteria can pass through the placenta because the mother's immune system response attacks the placenta. The outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes was identified in samples taken from three intact … [Read more...]

Nine Whole Foods Stores Recall Cheeses for Listeria

Nine Whole Foods markets in four states are recalling Vulto Creamery's soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses from their stores after FDA testing found Listeria monocytogenes in one of the cheeses.  The stores are located in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and New York. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with the consumption of these products. Vulto Creamery recalled their raw milk cheeses when the FDA found Ouleout lot #617 positive for Listeria, and the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets found the possible contamination of Ouleout lot #623. The Whole Foods recall includes Vulto Creamery Ouleout and Miranda soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses which were cut and packaged in clear plastic wrap. The scale labels begin with PLU codes 0200305 and 0200306. The sell … [Read more...]

Vulto Creamery Recalls Raw Milk Cheeses for Listeria

Vulto Creamery of Walton, New York is recalling all lots of Ouleout, Miranda, Heinennellie, and Willowemoc soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses because testing from the FDA found Ouleout lot #617 positive for Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets found possible contamination in Ouleout lot #623. Production has been suspended while the FDA and the company investigate the problem. If you purchased any of these soft, wash-rind raw milk cheeses, do not eat it. The cheeses were distributed nationwide. Most were sold at retail locations in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States, California, Chicago, Portland and Washington, DC. Throw the cheese away in a sealed or double bagged package or take it back to the place of purchase for a refund. Then … [Read more...]

Texas Brucellosis Outbreak Linked to Raw Cheese from Mexico

A brucellosis outbreak in Texas has been linked to unpasteurized cheese from Mexico, according to a health advisory issued by the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services. A record number of 13 people have been diagnosed in 2016 so far. Dallas usually has only 2 to 6 cases of brucellosis every year. There were 11 Brucella infections total in 2014. The cheeses were brought into the U.S. from Mexico by friends or relatives, consumed while traveling in Mexico, or bought from local street vendors. The patient age range is from 6 to 80 years. Most required hospitalization to start treatment. And two incidents of "high-risk occupational exposures of hospital laboratory personnel have occurred during handling of these clinical Brucella isolates." Brucella bacteria typically … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Commodity Sampling Test Results on Raw Milk Cheese

The FDA released test results of commodity sampling last week. The products sampled were raw milk cheese aged 60 days, cucumbers, and hot peppers. This sampling program is part of an effort to help ensure food safety. This program was adopted in 2014 to learn more about the prevalence of disease-causing bacteria in foods and to help the agency identify patterns to help prevent future contamination. Raw milk cheese aged 60 days was one of the commodities selected for the first year of testing. Evidence indicates that aging this product for 60 days may not eliminate or adequately reduce disease causing bacteria, posing a hazard. People may still get sick with E. coli, Salmonella, or Listeria monocytogenes infections if they eat these cheeses. And they can suffer serious complications, … [Read more...]

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