Listeria Outbreak Forces Whole Foods to Recall Cheese

Whole Foods Market, Inc. is recalling  Crave Brothers Les Freres cheese because it may be contaminated with listeria. The recall was in response to four illnesses and one death believed to be linked to the contaminated cheese. The recall affects stores in 30 states, as well as the District of Columbia.

The brands specifically recalled include Les Freres, Petit Freres and Petit Freres with Truffles. All with production dates of July 1, 2013 or sooner. Crave Brothers announced a voluntary recall on July 3, 2013 and Whole Foods announced it would be pulling the soft cheese line from its shelves at that time.

Photo courtesy - Center for Disease Control
Photo courtesy – Center for Disease Control

A recent report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows illnesses linked to the listeria outbreak were reported in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio. One death has been reported and a woman stricken with the infection suffered a miscarriage.

Listeriosis is the bacterial infection caused by eating foods contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Listeriosis can often be contracted by eating poorly processed deli meat, unpasteurized milk and easily tainted food such as soft cheese and fruit. Common side effects include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, confusion and loss of balance. For the elderly, women who are pregnant and those with compromised immune systems, the side effects can quickly turn from bothersome to life-threatening as Listeriosis can spread from their intestines to the bloodstream and even the central nervous system causing meningitis.

Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese company is based in Waterloo, Wisconsin. The recall also includes Les Freres cheese sold in other small market stores and online. Customers who purchased the cheese are strongly advised to throw away the product and clean any dishes, utensils or cutting boards that may have come in contact with it.

Whole Foods customers can bring their receipt into the store to obtain a full refund.