The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is warning the public not to eat Tomme d’Or cheese made by Moonstruck Organic Cheese on Saltspring Island because it may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Currently there are no illnesses linked to the Tomme d’Or cheese, and other types of cheeses produced by Moonstruck Organic Cheese are not affected by the advisory, according to the BCCDC on Wednesday.
Routine sampling by the BCCDC and further investigation by the cheese maker detected Listeria monocytogenes in the finished product.
Affected products include all lot numbers of Moonstruck Tomme d’Or cheese, which sold at various retailers throughout British Columbia.
Anyone who may have purchased the recalled cheese should not consume it, and should discard or return it to the place of purchase, the BCCDC said. The agency is concerned that the recalled cheese may still be in consumers’ homes, because it can be stored and consumed well beyond the product’s best-before date.
Listeria, if present, will grow to high numbers even if the cheese has been stored in the refrigerator. Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled.
Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease.
Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal blood infections or meningitis in frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness, infections during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn or even stillbirth.
People with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, and the elderly should avoid higher risk foods such as deli meats, smoked raw fish, unpasteurized milk and cheese and soft pasteurized cheeses.
The BCCDC suggests that individuals who have consumed the recalled cheese and have symptoms compatible with Listeria infection consider one of the following options:
– call the 24-hour HealthLink BC Line at 1-866-215-4700
– contact your physician
– view the BC HealthFiles on Listeria at www.bchealthguide.org/healthfiles
Guidance for the testing and treatment of exposed and/or symptomatic pregnant women has been developed by the BC Perinatal Health Program.
For more information, please visit the listeria page on bccdc.ca.