Lidl faces legal action over listeria cheese death

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Law, Cottage cheese

A German consumer rights organisation is suing Lidl, Prolactal, and local health officials for ‘negligent homicide’ following a listeria cheese outbreak that resulted in seven deaths earlier this year.

A total of seven people died earlier this year following an outbreak of listeria in acid curd cheese made by Prolactal and distributed in Germany by Lidl supermarket.

Consumer rights group Foodwatch is now taking legal action against the companies and officials in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Foodwatch claims that not enough was done to publicise the warning not to eat the potentially fatal cheese products.

Campaign director Matthias Wolfschmidt told DairyReporter.com that Foodwatch has ‘confirmed information’ that one victim, who was hospitalised on February 11, ate the cheese after January 23 – the date when Lidl pulled the products from its shelves and issued a warning.

In the lawsuit Foodwatch claims that not enough was done by the parties involved after January 23 to warn the public about the danger posed by the Prolactal cheese products.

Wolfschmidt said officials did little to make the information public and only sent a press release to local media in the Baden-Wuerttemberg area.

The person who died and is suspected of eating the contaminated cheese lived in Hessen, which is not in the Baden-Wuerttemberg region. Wolfschmidt said it is therefore unlikely that this person would have had easy access to a warning about the products.

He added that listeria in the acid curd cheese in question has an “explosive development”​ and that officials would have known this. Foodwatch therefore argues that they were negligent in their efforts to inform the public about the dangers.

Related topics: Markets, Regulation & Safety, Cheese

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