Wednesday, March 22

Listeria outbreak linked to cheese sold by Safeway, Whole Foods and other grocery chains

Brie and Camembert cheeses sold at retailers nationwide and in Mexico are being recalled due to a multistate listeria outbreak that has sickened six people, hospitalizing five of them, federal officials say.

Friday’s recall by Benton Harbor, Michigan-based Old Europe Cheese involves all of its Brie and Camembert products with “best by” dates through December 14, 2022, the company stated in a notice posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (See here for a detailed list of the recalled products, which involve more than 20 brands.)

The recalled cheeses were sold at supermarkets from August 1, 2022, through September 28, 2022. Those retailers likely included Albertsons, Athenian Foods, Fresh Thyme, Giant Foods, Harding’s, Lidl, Market Basket, Meijer, Price Chopper, Raley’s, Safeway, Save Mart, Sprouts, Stop & Shop and Whole Foods, the company said. 

Image of one cheese product recalled on Friday by Old Europe Cheese of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The FDA cautioned against eating any of the recalled cheeses in light of an outbreak of listeria infections in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Texas. Of the five people who provided information to the FDA, four reported eating Brie or Camembert cheese before becoming ill, said the agency, which is investigating the outbreak along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Listeria infections can cause serious and sometimes fatal illness in young children, frail or elderly people, or others with weakened immune systems, according to the CDC. Healthy people may experience symptoms like high fever, severe headache and stomach pain. The organism can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

An estimated 1,600 Americans get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die, according to the CDC.

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