Listeria can be found anywhere. It is a resilient bacterium that survives well in cold environments, like refrigerators or food processing facilities. Although most food processing companies possess the proper techniques for pasteurization and have satisfactory preparation practices, contamination can happen between the cooking and packaging processes. The concern with this outbreak is that the cheeses involved are unpasteurized, raw milk cheeses. This means that they lack the kill step process, pasteurization, to kill any Listeria bacteria.
People who ingest products contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes usually do not exhibit symptoms. In fact, high risk pregnant women may only experience a fever and flu-like symptoms. Babies born to infected mothers will show symptoms of vomiting, irritability, fever, and little interest in feeding.
Generalized symptoms of Listeriosis are relatively mild in healthy individuals. As Listeriosis can present itself is different ways depending on the person, some people may have many or few symptoms. In fact, most healthy people may never have symptoms. For those who exhibit generalized symptoms, these could include, in no particular order:
- Fever and chills
- Upset Stomach
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle aches
- Diarrhea or acute febrile gastroenteritis
For more information about Listeria, you can visit our food safety blog at www.UnsafeFoods.com.
If you or someone you care about ingested any Vulto Creamery cheese products and are sick, immediate medical attention is recommended.
You can also visit us at UnsafeFoods.com or call us for answers to your questions, address your concerns, and to help you understand the legal process at (855) 969-5637.
On March 7, 2017, Vulto Creamery issued a press release concerning its recall of its soft raw (unpasturized) milk cheeses for Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The cheeses affected by the outbreak and subsequent recall were sold via retailers and distributors nationwide, but primarily at retail locations in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States, California, Chicago, Portland and Washington D.C.
According to the company’s press release:
“Vulto Creamery, Walton, New York, is recalling all lots of Ouleout, Miranda, Heinennellie, and Willowemoc soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses out of an abundance of caution due to testing result from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which found Ouleout lot # 617 positive for Listeria monocytogenes and New York Department of Agriculture and Markets finding the possible contamination of Ouleout lot #623. Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and fetal infection among pregnant women … If you have any of this soft, wash-rind raw-milk cheese, please do not consume it. The soft raw milk cheeses were distributed nationwide, with most being sold at retail locations in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States, California, Chicago, Portland and Washington, DC.”
Pictures of the affected products can be found here.
The company has not posted about the recall on its website or social media outlets, like Facebook, at this time.
WholeFoods, a retailer of Vulto Creamery products, has joined the recall through its joint efforts with the FDA.
Vulto Creamery’s recall comes on the heels of a national outbreak that has left six people hospitalized, two of which died. The victims were from four states: Vermont, New York, Connecticut and Florida. The ages of those ill range in age from one to 89 years old, yet reports confirm that the bacteria were isolated from a newborn as well. The illnesses began as early as 5 months ago, on September 1, 2016. The latest victim reports their illness beginning on January 22, 2017. Testing conducted by state and federal agencies isolated similar strains of Listeria monocytogenes in all six of those ill, suggesting a common contaminated food source. When the agencies interviewed the victims, all of them confirmed to have eaten Vulto Creamery soft raw milk cheeses prior to becoming ill.
As a result of the interviews, the federal and state agencies obtained samples of the company’s cheese products from the home of a victim and from the company’s facility. These samples tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Investigations concerning this outbreak are ongoing, and more cases are believed to become linked in the future.