Recalled Brie and Camembert Cheese Linked to Multistate Listeria Outbreak

The recalled cheese was sold under Trader Joe's, Black Bear and other brand name labels

Federal health officials are warning that recalled Brie and Camembert cheese products appear to be the cause of a multi-state listeria food poisoning outbreak, which has caused at least a half-dozen illnesses and hospitalizations.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a food safety alert October 6, indicating that the Listeria outbreak has been linked to contaminated Brie and Camembert cheese products made by Old Europe Cheese, Inc. in Benton Harbor, Michigan, which was distributed throughout the United Sstates.

Illnesses have been reported in at least six states so far, including California, Texas, Michigan, Georgia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, with five cases severe enough to result in hospitalization. To date, no deaths have been linked to the recalled Brie and Camembert cheese.

Brie and Camembert Cheese Recall

The FDA first announced the Old Europe Cheese recall on September 30, impacting multiple brands of Brie and Camembert cheeses produced at a Michigan facility.

On October 5, the company expanded the recall to include baked Brie products. The company has stopped production and distribution of Brie and Camembert products.

The cheese is sold under multiple brand names including Black Bear, Block & Barrel, Charmant, Fredericks, Good & Gather, Joan of Arc, La Bonne Vie, Life in Provence, Market 32, Primo Taglio, St. Randeaux, Trader Joe’s, and many others.

The cheese was sold at stores nationwide in the U.S. and Mexico at Albertsons, Giant Foods, Whole Foods, and more retailers. Cheeses affected by the recall have Best By dates from September 28, 2022, to December 14, 2022.

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The Listeria monocytogenes organism can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, posing a particularly serious risk for persons with weakened immune systems. However, even healthy individuals can suffer side effects, including short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Among pregnant women, listeria monocytogenes infections can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

Listeria poisoning symptoms usually start one to four weeks after eating food contaminated with the bacteria, but can start the same day or even up to 70 days after consumption. In some cases, severe illness may result if the bacteria spreads beyond the gut to other areas of the body. The CDC advises anyone experiencing any symptoms of headaches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions, fever and muscle aches after eating the contaminated product go see a healthcare professional.

CDC and FDA officials recommend any consumers with the recalled cheese should avoid eating it and throw it away. They should also clean any refrigerator, container or surface that may have touched the recalled cheese, as listeria can survive in cold temperatures and spread to other foods and surfaces.

Consumers with questions about the recall should contact Old Europe Cheese at 269-925-5003, ext. 335.


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