A Michigan-based cheese company is recalling its Brie and Camembert products as federal health authorities investigate an outbreak of listeria reported in several states, including at least one case in Massachusetts, officials said.
Old Europe Cheese Inc. announced the recall Friday for any Brie and Camembert products with best-by dates through Dec. 14, according to a company statement published on the US Food and Drug Administration’s website.
The outbreak has been linked to six cases of listeria across six states, according to the CDC. Among those cases, five people were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Listeria is a bacteria that can cause severe illness, particularly for those older than 65, pregnant people and their newborns, and people with weakened immune systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Others who are infected tend to experience mild food poisoning symptoms and usually recover without treatment, according to the CDC.
Common symptoms are fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. People who are not pregnant might also experience confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, according to the CDC.
In addition to the infection in Massachusetts, cases were also reported in New Jersey, Michigan, Georgia, Texas, and California, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Old Europe Cheese distributes products to supermarkets and grocery stores across the country, including Shaw’s, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, and Market Basket, the company’s statement said. Other stores include Albertsons, Safeway, Meijer, Harding’s, Price Chopper, Raley’s, Save Mart, Giant Foods, Fresh Thyme, Lidl, Sprouts, and Athenian Foods.
The company’s Brie and Camembert cheeses are sold under a variety of product names, including Black Bear, Block & Barrell, Charmant, Cobblestone, Culinary Tour, Fredericks, Fresh Thyme, Glenview Farms, Good & Gather, Heinen’s, Joan of Arc, La Bonne Vie, Lidl, Life in Provence, Market 32, Maitre D’, Metropolitan, Prestige, Primo Taglio, Red Apple Cheese, Reny Picot, St. Randeaux, St. Rocco, and Taste of Inspiration.
The recalled products were distributed from Aug. 1 to Sept. 28 and carry best-by dates ranging from Sept. 28 to Dec. 14, the company said.
The recall was issued following an environmental audit of 120 samples taken from the products and from the company’s facilities. The company said no contaminants were detected in the products, but one of the facilities’ samples tested positive for a strain that is linked to six cases of listeriosis since 2017.
“These cases were not previously linked to this company’s products, but Old Europe Cheese decided to do this voluntary recall in order to avoid any risk to their customers,” the company’s statement said.
“The source of potential contamination has been identified and Old Europe Cheese is taking active measures to eliminate it. Production of these products has been stopped and will not restart until the Company has full confidence in the effectivity of the applied measures.”
Anyone with recalled cheese should throw it away and clean their refrigerator, as listeria can survive in the refrigerator and spread to other foods and surfaces, officials said. Health officials also urge people to clean and disinfect any utensils or plates that have come in contact with the cheese.