A Michigan-based company issued a recall involving 25 brands of brie and camembert cheeses after five people were hospitalized with a strain of listeria, health officials announced.
In a Sept. 30 recall notice, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the products were made by Old Europe Cheese Inc. and sold at popular retailers across the United States and Mexico.
The cheeses were distributed from Aug. 1 through Sept. 28 and sold by 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, and Whole Foods, per the notice.
The company is advising consumers to avoid consumption of the cheeses that display best-by dates from Sept. 28, 2022, to Dec. 14, 2022.
The recalled products were sold under the following brand names:
- Black Bear
- Block & Barrel
- Culinary Tour
- Fresh Thyme
- Glenview Farms
- Good & Gather
- Joan of Arc
- La Bonne Vie
- Life in Provence
- Market 32
- Primo Taglio
- Red Apple Cheese
- Reny Picot
- St. Randeaux
- St. Rocco
- Taste of Inspiration
- Trader Joe
Some retailers may have repackaged the cheeses into smaller containers for individual resale as well, meaning the products may not bear any of the original labeling and product information, according to a recall notice posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency advises consumers to contact their retailer or throw away any brie or camembert cheeses if they’re unsure.
The CDC advises anyone who may have purchased the affected products to throw them away immediately and clean refrigerators, containers, and surfaces that may have touched the recalled items. The agency says listeria can survive in the refrigerator and can spread to other foods and surfaces.
For more details about the products, see the recall notice from either the CDC or FDA or contact the Old Europe Cheese helpline at (269) 925-5003.
The recall was triggered following a “full environmental audit” of 120 products—which also included areas of the manufacturing facility—to find possible listeria contamination.
While the company says none of the cheeses tested positive for the bacteria, one sample that was taken from the facility did. That strain matched the one of the outbreak.
Listeria infections linked to the same strain have been observed in California, Texas, Georgia, Michigan, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, according to the CDC. Five patients were hospitalized due to infection, and four of those people reported eating brie or camembert cheese.
Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne bacteria that can cause illness with short-term symptoms like high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, as per the CDC.
While it is generally rare and causes a mild infection in healthy individuals, it primarily affects young children, the elderly, or those with weakened immune systems, as well as pregnant women.
In pregnant women, it can potentially cause serious problems such as miscarriages and stillbirths and cause severe disease in the fetus or newborn baby. In adults aged 65 and older and those with weakened immune systems, listeria monocytogenes can in some cases cause severe infections in the bloodstream, such as sepsis, or in the brain, which can cause meningitis or encephalitis.
An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, of which roughly 260 die from the illness.