You may find Listeria monocytogenes in deli meats, hot dogs, meat spreads, unpasteurized (raw) milk and dairy products, soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk, refrigerated smoked seafood, and raw sprouts.
Listeria is a stubborn bacteria, as it can grow in cold temperatures, such as your refrigerator, and can spread to other cheese which were cut on the same cutting board or which were stored in the same area as the infected cheeses.
Bad Cheese? What to Do
If you have the contaminated cheese in your refrigerator, you will want to make sure you sanitize the cheese drawer or container thoroughly. The CDC recommends washing with hot water and soap and then sanitizing the area with one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water. This also goes for any cutting boards or utensils that may have come in contact with the contaminated cheese.
If you ate the contaminated cheese and have symptoms, then you should seek medical care immediately. However, according to the CDC not everyone who eats the contaminated food will experience symptoms. Experts agree that you don’t need treatment if you’re not experiencing symptoms – but if you’re in the high risk groups – especially pregnant women – you should be checked out as a precaution.
Listeriosis in Cheese: Precautions
Listeriosis is a serious infection that can take a few days or even weeks to run its course. You’ll need antibiotics and medical care for a healthy outcome, but listeriosis can also result in death, especially in older adults and those with compromised immune systems. If you have any of the recalled cheeses, don’t take any chances: throw it out, along with any other cheese you have.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheeses. July 5, 2013. Accessed July 7, 2013.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Listeria. October 7, 2011. Accessed July 7, 2013.
Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company. Press Release. July 4, 2013. Accessed July 7, 2013.
USA Today. Illnesses prompt Whole Foods cheese recall. July 7, 2013. Accessed July 7, 2013.
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