September 24, 2015 — An FDA investigation into an outbreak of Listeria from soft cheeses has identified the outbreak strain in samples collected from the Central Valley Cheese Inc. manufacturing facility in Turlock, California.
Central Valley Cheese Inc. manufactures cheese for Karoun Dairies. On September 16, Karoun Dairies recalled soft cheeses sold under many brands:
Ackwai, California, Cotija, Farmers Goat Fresh, Fresco, Fresh Cheese/Panela, Feta, Goat Milk Feta, Mozzarella, Paneer, Queso Blanco, String Cheese, Ani, Nabulsi, and Yanni Grilling.
In addition, whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis determined that five samples of Listeria collected from Central Valley Cheese in 2010 were also highly related to the outbreak strains.
Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that is commonly found in dairy environments. In rare cases, cows with infected udders (mastitis) can transmit Listeria to milk. It can be transmitted to humans who consume unpasteurized dairy products.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that 24 people in nine states have been infected in the outbreak since August 2010. At least 22 people were hospitalized and one pregnant woman had a miscarriage. One person in Ohio died in 2012.
Symptoms of listeriosis can appear from a few days up to 10 weeks after contaminate food is eaten. Victims often develop fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by gastrointestinal symptoms. According to the FDA:
“Listeriosis can be fatal, especially in certain high-risk groups. These groups include the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems and certain chronic medical conditions (such as cancer). In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and serious illness or death in newborn babies.”
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