Cheese Recalled After Listeria Outbreak Causes Hospitalizations

Health officials are advising consumers against eating cheeses sold under multiple brand names after the products were linked to a multi-state listeria outbreak. On Friday, Sept. 30, Old Europe Cheese, Inc. voluntarily recalled its Brie and Camembert cheeses amid a multi-state outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections that is currently being investigated by the FDA, CDC, and state and local partners.

The recall impacts multiple brands of Brie and Camembert cheeses that were distributed from August 1, 2022, through September 28, 2022, and marked with Best By Dates ranging from September 28, 2022, to December 14, 2022. The recalled products were available at supermarkets, wholesale and retail stores nationwide and in Mexico, with affected retailers including Albertsons, Safeway, Meijer, Harding's, Shaw's, Price Chopper, Market Basket, Raley's, Save Mart, Giant Foods, Stop & Shop, Fresh Thyme, Lidl, Sprouts, Athenian Foods, Whole Foods, and possibly others. Per the FDA's recall alert, retailers may have repackaged bulk Old Europe Cheese items into smaller containers and sold this repackaged product to consumers. The cheeses were sold under multiple brand names, including Block and Barrel, Fredericks, Good and Gather, and Joan of Arc, among others. The full list of recalled products can be found by clicking here.

The recall was issued due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The FDA explained that a full environmental audit of 120 samples, both of the product and of the company's facilities, found that one of the facilities' samples tested positive for a strain of Listeria monocytogenes that has been linked to six cases of Listeriosis dating from 2017 to 2022. In an outbreak investigation update, the FDA said that epidemiologic information provided by CDC showed that "of the five patients with information available, four (80%) report eating Brie or Camembert cheese prior to illness." Following those findings, the FDA, with assistance from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, initiated an inspection at the Old Europe Cheese, Inc. facility in Michigan, which resulted in the positive test result.

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An investigation into the outbreak is ongoing, with FDA, CDC, and state and local partners investigating. Amid the outbreak, the FDA said consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not eat, sell, or serve the recalled cheeses, which should instead be thrown away. Old Europe Cheese, Inc. issued the recall voluntarily "with a focus on their consumers' health." The FDA said the company "is taking active measures to eliminate" the source of potential contamination and "production of these products has been stopped and will not restart until the Company has full confidence in the effectivity of the applied measures."