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Two deaths, four illnesses blamed on recalled cheese

Cheese-unwrappedVulto Creamery is recalling all lots of Ouleout, Miranda, Heinennellie, and Willowemoc soft raw milk cheeses because they may be contaminated with Listeria. The recall was updated Saturday to include Andes, Blue Blais, Hamden, and Walton Umber cheeses.

The soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses were distributed nationwide, with most being sold at retail locations in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, California, Chicago, Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C.

The cheese has killed two people and made four others sick, according to federal officials.

The soft raw milk cheese made by Vulto Creamery tested positive for Listeria monocytogens and is the likely source of the outbreak, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

Vulto Creamery has suspended production while the company and the FDA investigate the source of the problem.

Consumers shouldn’t eat the recalled soft raw milk cheeses made by Vulto Creamery, and it shouldn’t be served by restaurants or sold by retailers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

This advice is especially important for consumers at higher risk for listeriosis, including pregnant women, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and fetal infection in pregnant women.

If you find the recalled cheese is in your home, restaurant, or store, the CDC recommends following these steps:

  • Throw the cheese away in a closed plastic bag placed in a sealed trashcan.
  • Wash the refrigerator drawer and other areas where the cheese was stored with hot water and soap.
  • Wash cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to cut, serve, or store the recalled cheese. If possible, use a dishwasher; otherwise, use hot water and soap, followed by sanitizing with a solution of 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach added to 1 gallon of hot water.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap after cleaning up.

What to do if you ate recalled cheese:

  • If you have eaten a recalled cheese and don’t have any symptoms, most health care providers believe that tests or treatment aren’t needed, even for people at higher risk for listeriosis.
  • People who develop symptoms of listeriosis after eating possibly contaminated products should consider seeking medical care and telling a healthcare provider about eating that product. Although people can sometimes develop listeriosis up to two months after eating contaminated food, symptoms usually start within several days.
Copyright 2017, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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