Whole Foods is recalling all of a specific type of chese nationwide due to a deadly Listeria outbreak.
Whole Foods is scrambling to get a specific type of cheese off the shelves at its stores nationwide after reports of a Listeria outbreak.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered Listeria Monocytogenes in an uncut wheel of Papillion Organic Roquefort cheese in a sample test, prompting the recall, according to an ABC Radio report.
The company posted a statement on its site that all of this type of cheese would be recalled, and that it affects all sell-by dates of the cheese. The manufacturer of the cheese, Papillion, didn’t respond to requests for comment, according to the report.
While no illnesses have been reported from Listeria contracted due to eating the cheese, it can often be difficult to track Listeria infections because they can have a long incubation period — up to 60 days in some cases. This makes it an extremely difficult disease to track.
Listeria infections can be deadly, usually in those who are very young or very old, or have a compromised immune system. It can also be very risky for pregnant women, who could have a miscarriage as a result of this bacteria.
Those who are infected with Listeria typically experience high fever, headaches, stiffness, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Listeria covers a range of about 10 species of bacteria. It was named after Joseph Lister, a pioneer of sterile surgery. It is usually contracted by eating food that is contaminated with the bacteria.
The fatality rate is actually quite high for Listeria at 20 percent. Usually the cause of death is sepsis or meningitis, the latter of which is sometimes complicated with encephalitis.
Listeria was first documented back in 1924, when two researchers independently identified a bacteria connected to animal outbreaks, and proposed to call it Listerella to honor Joseph Lister, and eventually called it Listeria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes Listeriosis as “a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, is an important public health problem in the United States.” It recommends reducing the risk of getting Listeria by preparing foods in a safe manner, and storing them properly.
Whole Foods’ statement, which was posted on their website, explained their decision to recall the cheese.
On the reason for the decision: “Whole Foods Market is recalling cheese sold in all stores nationwide that came from its supplier because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, 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 and stillbirths among pregnant women. Consumers should seek immediate medical care if they develop these symptoms.”
On how it was found: “The recalled cheese was cut and packaged in clear plastic wrap and sold with Whole Foods Market scale labels. Whole Foods Market decided to recall the cheese after routine sampling conducted by the FDA found Listeria Monocytogenes in a whole, uncut wheel of the cheese. The Papillion Organic Roquefort cheese product can be identified by the scale label that begins with PLU 029536. All sell by dates are affected.”
On what they are doing to track the disease: “No illnesses or infections have been reported to date. Signage is posted on retail store shelves to notify customers of this recall, and all affected product has been removed from shelves. Consumers who have purchased this product from Whole Foods Market stores may bring their receipt to the store for a full refund. Consumers with questions should contact their local store or call 512-477-5566 ext. 20060 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.”