Listeria death confirmed as cheese recalled

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria

Petit Frère cheese made by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company
Petit Frère cheese made by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company
One person has died and at least five more are ill after an outbreak of listeria from Crave Brothers Farmstead cheese.

Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company of Waterloo, Wisconsin recalled three of its products last week.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the products were distributed nationwide through retail and foodservice outlets and by mail orders.

Crave Brothers was informed by regulatory agencies of an ongoing investigation related to potential health risks associated with Listeria monocytogenes and has ceased the production and distribution of the products.

Five people sick

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said five people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from four states.

The ill people identified in each state are: Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Minnesota (2), and Ohio (1).

All five ill persons were hospitalized. One death was reported in Minnesota and one illness in a pregnant woman resulted in a miscarriage, said the CDC.

Public health investigators are using DNA “fingerprints” of Listeria obtained through testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak.

Les Frères cheese made by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company
Les Frères cheese made by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company

Initial findings

The available data shows dates that illness was diagnosed range from 20 May to 17 June.

Ill persons range in age from 31 years to 67 years, with a median age of 58 years, and 80% are female.

Recalled products are: Les Frères with a make date of 7-1-13 or prior, packaged in white plastic with a green and gold label, Petit Frère with a date of 7-1-13 or prior, packaged in small round wooden boxes and Petit Frère with Truffles with a date of 7-1-13 or prior, also packaged in boxes.

The products were distributed nationwide through retail and foodservice outlets and by mail orders.

About 800 laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis are reported each year in the US, and typically three or four outbreaks are identified and reported to CDC annually, said the agency.

“We are cooperating with the regulatory agencies’ ongoing investigation of the cause of the potential health risks​,” said George Crave, president.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Cheese

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1 comment

From PASTEURIZED dairy? Say it ain't so!

Posted by Jennifer Christinao,

The death and miscarriage from contaminated cheese is a tragedy, to be sure. The FDA isn't about to question the safety of pasteurized milk products and cheeses, though. If this outbreak had been from a raw milk cheese, however, we can be sure that farmers' heads would roll and the FDA would capitalizing on these deaths to agitate for new laws to 'protect' the public (and the profits of the commercial dairies, but we won't mention that). How hypocritical that this same agency will sweep this outbreak under the rug as it does with all the others, and continue with the drumbeat that only pasteurized is safe.

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