Two people in France are seriously ill with listeriosis after eating contaminated cheese, according to the public health agency.

A spokeswoman for Santé publique France told Food Safety News that both cases of listeriosis occurred in early March and two women were seriously ill.

“Investigations into two cases of listeriosis that occurred in March 2019 made it possible to identify the consumption of cheeses produced by Société Fromagère de la Brie as a source of contamination for these cases,” she said.

The spokeswoman said as part of national listeriosis surveillance both cases were reported to the agency.

“Strains of Listeria monocytogenes isolated from the two patients were sent to the Centre National de Référence des Listeria (Institut Pasteur de Paris) for molecular typing. These analyses showed that strains isolated from these two individuals had the same microbiological characteristics,” she said.

“Food samples taken at a patient’s home showed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in a cheese produced by Société Fromagère de la Brie. Additional microbiological analyzes have confirmed the link between strains isolated from patients and strains found within the company.”

Recalled cheese in Germany

Fromagère de la Brie recalled cheese made from raw and pasteurized milk this week. Affected brands are Fromagere de la Brie, Loiseau, Hennart, Beillevaire and Fromagerie du Dolloir. Creams and cheeses were marketed until April 9, 2019, at different retail stores.

Some of the cheese was exported to Austria, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, and Luxembourg where it has also been recalled.

In Belgium and Luxembourg, the supermarket chain Cora informed food authorities about the recall of several products because of the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.

The Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) in Belgium said it was conducting a “massive” recall of cheese distributed in various outlets in the country.

Products were also sold at Match supermarkets in Luxembourg and authorities said they could not yet rule out the wider distribution.

Click to see products and dates in the Australian recall

In Australia, Washed Rind Pty Ltd recalled products sold in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia due to potential microbial contamination.

Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice and return products to the place of purchase for a full refund. For a list of affected items and best before dates see the table.

Another cheese recalled due to E. coli

Goat’s cheese recalled in Belgium

Meanwhile, as part of different self-control, the presence of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26 has been detected in raw goat’s milk cheese from another company.

Jacquin has recalled Pouligny Saint-Pierre raw milk PDO goat cheese with the brand name ‘P. Jacquin et Fils’ sold from March 15 to April 4, 2019. No illnesses have been reported.

The raw milk goat’s cheese was also sent to Belgium and Germany. According to Belgian authorities the 250-gram product has best before the date of May 4, 2019, and was sold between 1 and 8 April 2019. It can be identified by lot number J90740089.

A recall notice by From-Un, a cheese wholesaler in Belgium, lists best before dates of May 4 and 10, 2019 as being affected as well as lot codes J90740112, J90740109, and J90800104.

Symptoms of the diseases caused by STEC include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that may progress to bloody diarrhea. Fever and vomiting may also occur. The incubation period can range from three to eight days.

Most patients recover within 10 days, but a small proportion particularly young children and the elderly, infection may lead to a life-threatening disease such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Salmonella and raw milk cheese

Recalls come in the same week that the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food issued a reminder on precautions to be taken with raw milk cheese consumption.

Finally, the national platform for monitoring the food chain (SCA), set up in July 2018, has published its first work on monitoring Salmonella at different stages of the raw milk cheese production chain.

The document was produced by a working group led by Cniel (an organization for the dairy industry) and the Directorate General for Food (DGAL), including Actalia, (a technical institute), experts in primary production, cheese processing and distribution, as well as human health.

It was designed to enable professionals to improve surveillance at each link of the food chain, strengthen communication between these links and obtain greater consistency in the implementation of surveillance actions.

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