Whole Foods Expands Recall Of Cheese Over Listeria Fear

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Listeria concerns came to the forefront when Austin-based Whole Foods Market voluntarily took a step and recalled Vulto cheese from nine of its outlets in the northeast, due to the outbreak of the virus in the cheese which was linked to two deaths.

Now, however, Whole Foods Market has expanded the recall to include the Hamden, Andes and Walton Umber cheese, which are already sold in over eight stores in New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York.

Researches and scientists claim that these products have the potency to be contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.

The disease is known to produce symptoms which include high fever, nausea and stiffness and is usually not severe in case of normal healthy adults. However, the disease can prove to be fatal for young children, the elderly and pregnant women.

The Outbreak

Earlier in March it was reported that six people were hospitalized in various places like Florida, Connecticut and Vermont due to the Listeria infection, which occurred from ingesting infected cheese sold by Vulto. Reports also stated that there were also two fatalities that occurred in Vermont and Connecticut.

The FDA concluded that none of the Listeria-related deaths or illnesses have been linked to the cheese, which have been sold by Whole Foods Market as of now.

In early March, it was reported that Vulto recalled eight types of soft, raw-milk cheeses after learning of the outbreak.

Consumers should take a note of the PLU codes of the recalled products to ensure that they do not consume them accidentally. The codes are 0200307, 0201357 or 0206308 which have sell by dates from Jan. 2 to April 2, 2017

Cause For Concern

Cheese which have the highest potential of housing the virus are the raw milk cheese, which are unpasteurized and, therefore, do not go through any kind of sterilization process. Pasteurization kills the bacteria responsible for causing the disease.

Even if the unpasteurized cheese are aged for at least 60 days, the bacterium perishes. However, many of the cheese in the market do not go through such a long process of aging, which would potentially kill not only the Listeria bacteria, but salmonella as well.

What Measures Are Taken?

The Food Poisoning Bulletin has warned people to avoid consuming cheese which have been recalled even if they have bought it. It is advisable to throw away these products in a sealed bag or in a container so that other people and animals cannot eat it.

After throwing out or returning these products, people should clean out the refrigerators properly with a mild bleach solution just to be safe.

Photo: Mike Mozart | Flickr

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