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Food Safety News

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Texas Listeria Case Linked to Wisconsin Cheese Outbreak Strain

A sixth person – this one in Texas – has been sickened by Listeria monocytogenes with the same DNA fingerprint as the outbreak strain from Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, LLC.  One of its two Minnesota victims later died, and another person sickened was a pregnant woman who miscarried.

The cheese was pasteurized, not sold as a raw product.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio have each reported one victim associated with the Crave Brothers outbreak.

Based on victim interviews and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s July 2013 inspection of the Crave Brothers facility in Waterloo, WI, the CDC has concluded that the company’s Les Frères cheese was contaminated. FDA collected a sample with the same DNA as the outbreak strain.

Crave Brothers on July 3 recalled its Les Frères, Petit Frère, and Petit Frère with Truffles cheeses with make dates of July 1, 2013, or earlier due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. CDC continues to warn consumers against eating any of the recalled cheeses, a warning that is especially important for pregnant women, older adults or anyone with weakened immune systems who are at the highest risk for infections and acute symptoms.

The six Listeria victims range in age from 30 to 67 years of age, with the median age being 55. Five of the six were women. The average time to become ill with Listeria is two to three weeks after exposure. CDC says it’s possible that someone who becomes sick after about Aug. 10 might not yet be included in the outbreak.

In addition to CDC and FDA, the states with cases have been involved in the investigation.

About 800 laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis are reported each year in the U.S., and usually three or four involve multi-state outbreaks investigated by CDC. Mexican-style soft cheeses, imported ricotta salata cheese, whole cantaloupes, raw sprouts, and pre-cut celery have been linked to recent outbreaks.

© Food Safety News
  • J’Marinde Shephard

    It would be MOST helpful if there was information on preventing this included in all these articles — cooking. etc. Even if it seems not likely to be cooked, some people do cook things that seem unlikely to be. I fry my lettuce or boil it in simmering chili, etc. What if these cheeses were put on a pizza and cooked, does that eliminate the problem? And, how does one avoid it in cantaloupe; If one makes sorbet and first cooks the fruit?

  • J’Marinde Shephard

    Frankly, when I was growing up and food was routinely inspected, there were FAR fewer incidents of food-borne illness and poisoning. ‘Nuff said about the CLEARLY devastating impact of “Deregulation.”

  • Arykah Leann Wilmes

    Bad Cheese Dude.