Listeria outbreak leads to recall of cheeses sold at a dozen retailers

Old Europe Cheese, Inc., based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, is issuing a voluntary recall of its Brie and Camembert cheeses because of a possible outbreak of listeria, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

By Claire Colbert, CNN

(CNN) -- Old Europe Cheese, Inc., based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, is issuing a voluntary recall of its Brie and Camembert cheeses because of a possible outbreak of listeria, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

Affected cheeses were sold at about a dozen major retailers in the US and Mexico, the FDA said.

Recalled products contain a best-buy date through December 14, 2022, and were distributed between August 1 and September 28, 2022.

Retailers who likely sold the recalled cheeses include 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, the company said.

However, other retailers may have received the recalled products as well, and not all stores on the list may have actually received the cheeses in question.

Additionally, the FDA press release said that some recalled products may have been repackaged into smaller containers by retailers and sold with different labeling and product information.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism "which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems," the FDA said. It can cause high fever, headaches, stiffness, nausea and diarrhea. In pregnant woman, it can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

The FDA has linked six cases of listeria from 2017 to 2022 to a strain found in samples taken at Old Europe Cheese's Michigan facility, though the company's products were not previously linked to the cases.

Cases were found in California, Georgia, Texas, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Five of the six resulted in hospitalization; there have been no deaths reported, according to an investigation between the FDA, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and state health officials.

The FDA is advising consumers who may have purchased any of the products to discard them, as well as use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces that may have come into contact with the products. FDA also noted that listeria can survive in refrigerated environments.

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