FDA Investigates a multi-state outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to certain Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics Cheeses
Posted July 5, 2013
On this page:
- What is the Problem and What is Being Done?
- What are the Symptoms of Listeriosis?
- Who is at Risk?
- What Do Consumers Need To Do?
- What Do Retailers Need To Do?
- Who Should be Contacted?
|The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections. We are moving quickly to learn as much as possible and prevent additional people from becoming ill. We recognize that people will be concerned about this outbreak, and we will continue to provide updates and advice. |
The FDA is currently engaged in a fast-breaking investigation of a multi-state outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to Les Frères, Petit Frère, and Petit Frère with Truffles cheese distributed by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company of Waterloo, Wisconsin. The FDA is conducting an inspection at the firm’s processing facility in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.
According to the CDC, as of July 3, 2013, five persons infected with the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes infection (listeriosis) have been identified in four Midwestern states.
The pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) subtype of Listeria monocytogenes, or the bacteria’s "DNA fingerprint,” isolated from cases in the cluster is indistinguishable from isolates retrieved during 2010 and 2011 environmental sampling efforts by the FDA at Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics Cheese.
Laboratory tests conducted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture on samples of Les Frères and Petit Frère with Truffles cheeses made by Crave Brothers from two retail stores indicate the presence of the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes. Further testing and confirmation of the results are pending.
On July 3, 2013, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company has recalled the following products:
These products were distributed nationwide through retail and foodservice outlets as well as by mail orders.
On July 5, 2013, Whole Foods Market announced a recall of Crave Brothers Le Frères cheese sold at Whole Foods Market stores. Signage is posted in Whole Foods Market stores to notify customers of this recall. Customers who have purchased this product from Whole Foods Market should discard it, and may bring their receipt to a Whole Foods Market location for a full refund.
What are the Symptoms of Listeriosis?
Listeriosis is a rare and serious illness caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes. Persons in a higher-risk category, including pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, and older adults, who experience fever within 2 months after eating Les Frères, Petit Frère, and Petit Frère with Truffles cheeses manufactured by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company, should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated cheese.
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Listeriosis can be fatal, especially in certain high-risk groups. These groups include older adults, people with weakened immune systems and certain chronic medical conditions (such as cancer), unborn babies and newborns. In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and serious illness or death in newborn babies, though the mother herself rarely becomes seriously ill.
Using the information available at this time, CDC recommends that consumers do not eat the following cheeses manufactured by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company of Waterloo, Wisconsin:
- Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics Les Frères cheese
- Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics Petit Frère cheese
- Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Classics Petit Frère with Truffles cheese
Consumers should check their homes for these cheeses and discard them. According to Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company consumers mayalso return the cheese to the place of purchase for a full refund.
If more specific information becomes available, CDC will share it with the public and take steps to prevent additional illnesses.
Recommendations for preventing listeriosis are available at the CDC Listeria website: http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/prevention.html.
Listeria can grow at refrigerator temperatures, about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). The longer ready-to-eat refrigerated foods are stored in the refrigerator, the more opportunity Listeria has to grow.
It is very important that consumers clean their refrigerators and other food preparation surfaces and cheese cutting utensils thoroughly that may have come in contact with the contaminated cheese. Consumers should follow these simple steps:
- Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
- Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
- Wipe up spills in the refrigerator immediately and clean the refrigerator regularly.
- Always wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitization process.
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Do not sell or serve the recalled cheese. If you do not know the source of your cheese, check with your supplier.
- Dispose of the recalled cheese.
- Wash and sanitize cheese display cases and refrigerators where contaminated cheese was stored.
- Wash and sanitize cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to cut, serve, or store contaminated cheese.
- Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators who have cut and packaged this cheese need to be concerned about cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils through contact with the recalled cheese. Regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of cutting boards and utensils used in cutting may help to minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.
Listeria can grow in cut cheese at room and refrigerator temperatures. Listeria can also spread to other cheeses cut and served on the same cutting board or stored in the same area. For that reason, retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators may wish to consider whether other cheeses available for sale could have been cross-contaminated from the recalled cheese and should be discarded.
Because Listeria can grow at refrigeration temperatures in foods like cheeses, the FDA recommends and many state codes require that cheeses be discarded within 7 days of the date that they are opened in a retail establishment.
See the FDA Bulletin, Advice to Food Establishments that Sell or Repackage Cheese Products, for additional information.
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Consumers with questions about the Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company recall may contact the company at 920-478-4887, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT.
Questions about the Whole Foods Market recall can call the company at 512-477-5566 ext. 20060, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT.
The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time, or to consult the fda.gov website: www.fda.gov.
The information in this release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned from the manufacturer and the state and local public health agencies involved in the investigation. The agency will update this page as more information becomes available.
For more information:
- CDC: Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheeses
- FoodSafety.gov on Listeria