Whole Foods Market is recalling cheese sold at its stores in Ontario, Canada, because French public health officials have traced an E. coli O26 outbreak to it.
Monday the Canadian Food Inspection Agency posted a recall by Les Dépendances involving Haute Montagne brand raw milk cheese “Reblochon de Savoie au lait cru.” The Tuesday recall for the Whole Foods branded cheese does not indicate the country of origin for the “Reblochon Cheese ‘raw cow cheese’ ” product.
“Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased,” according to the recall notice regarding the Whole Foods branded cheese.
“Food contaminated with E. coli O26 may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. … Consumers should not consume the recalled product.”
Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled cheese and developed symptoms of E. coli poisoning should immediately seek medical attention and tell their doctors about their possible exposure to the pathogen. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea.
In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis or live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die.
Seven children in France have been confirmed with E. coli O26 infections linked to the recalled cheese. Six of them have developed hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure that can necessitate organ transplants. In severe cases, patients die.
The recall in France was initially for a limited amount of Reblochon produced by cheesemaker Chabert. The French recall was expanded Monday to include all Reblochon made at the production facility in the French Alps and sold by various retailers, including Carrefour and Intermarché. The recall in France involves about 350 tons of cheese.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)