January 6, 2015 — Whole Foods has issued a recall for certain cheeses sold in California, Arizona, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania after one of their suppliers, Bleating Heart Cheeses, reported that several raw milk cheeses tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.
No cases of food poisoning have been linked to the cheeses.
Raw milk cheese is generally more likely to be contaminated with Listeria because pasteurization kills the bacteria. However, cross-contamination on cutting boards, for example, can easily spread the bacteria to other food products. Unlike most bacteria, Listeria grows under refrigeration temperatures.
The Bleating Heart cheeses were cut and packaged in clear wrap, marked with a Whole Foods label, and sold for $30-50 per pound. All sell-by dates up to and including January 20, 2015 have been recalled.
Whole Foods cheeses recalled include:
- Shepardista, PLU# 254704
- Goldette Tommette, PLU# 250302
- Fat Bottom girl, PLU# 254705
- Ewelicious, PLU# 299784
- Mixtress, PLU# 299785
- Moolicious, PLU# 299648
After discussions with the FDA and the California Department of Health, the recall expanded (PDF) to include all cheeses produced between February 14, 2014 and September 19, 2014 that were sold to distributors in Pennsylvania and California, including:
- “Buff Ewe Blue” and “Buff Blue” – natural rind, blue-style cheese, aged 3 – 4 months
- “Double Down Blue” – natural rind, blue-style cheese, aged 3 – 4 months with a double heart imprint on the rind
- “Ewelicious Blue” – natural rind, blue-style cheese, aged 2 – 3 months
- “Fat Bottom Girl”- natural rind, aged 2 – 3 months
- “Funky Beats” – washed rind, aged 2-3 months. Note: this cheese has been sold out for some time and is not likely to be in the market place
- “Goldette Tommette”- natural rind, aged 2 – 3 months
- “Mixtress” – natural rind, aged 2 – 3 months
- “Moolicious Blue”- natural rind blue-style cheese, aged 3-4 months
- “Shepherdista” – natural rind, aged 2-3 months
Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria found in soil that can cause very serious food poisoning, especially for people with weak immune systems, children, older adults, and pregnant women. Symptoms of the illness may not appear for up to 70 days after exposure.
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