U.S. health officials have warned that numerous brands of brie and camembert cheese may contain Listeria, a potentially dangerous bacteria.
Old Europe Cheese Inc. has recalled more than 20 brands of cheese from retail and wholesale stores nationwide and in Mexico after six people in six states were infected with a specific strain of Listeria.
Stores that sold the potentially contaminated cheese include Albertsons, Giant Foods, Lidl, Stop & Shop and Whole Foods, the company said.
The recalled cheeses were sold under numerous brands: Black Bear, Block & Barrel, Charmant, Cobblestone, Culinary Tour, Fredericks, Fresh Thyme, Glenview Farms, Good & Gather, Heinen’s, Joan of Arc La Bonne Vie, Lidl, Life in Provence, Market 32, Matrie’d, Metropolitan, Prestige, Primo Taglio, Red Apple Cheese, Reny Picot, St. Randeaux, St. Rocco, Taste of Inspiration and Trader Joe.
Products have best-by dates ranging from Sept. 28 to Dec. 14.
The cheeses may be linked to the outbreak, according to interviews and laboratory data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday.
During an inspection of the company’s Michigan facility, U.S. and state health officials found the outbreak strain of Listeria in a sample from the floor in a cooling room, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Five people were hospitalized in the outbreak. In interviews, four people reported eating brie or camembert cheese. Those sickened were in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Texas.
While many people get mild food poisoning symptoms after Listeria infection, pregnant women, newborns, adults 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness.
Symptoms typically start within two weeks of eating the contaminated food, but can happen as early as the same day or even 10 weeks later.
When Listeria infection spreads beyond the gut, it can be severe and lead to hospitalization and death. Listeria can also cause pregnancy loss. Typical symptoms can be headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions, fever and muscle aches.
Anyone who has purchased the cheese should not eat it. Throw it away and clean your refrigerator, containers and any surfaces that may have touched the recalled cheese, the CDC advised. Listeria can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.
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