“The quality and safety of our products is our number one priority,” the company said in the notice. “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by this situation. Old Europe Cheese’s top priority is the health of our customers.”
The company, which makes cheese sold under different brand names sold at major grocery chains like Trader Joe’s and Lidl, said that during an audit of 120 samples of their cheese, none of their products showed contamination but one sample from a facility tested positive for a strain of listeria linked to six cases of listeriosis between 2017 and 2022.
The cases occurred across the country in California, Texas, Michigan, Georgia, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, sickening six, five of whom were sent to the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No deaths have been linked to cases.
The outbreak affected mostly older people, with ages of patients ranging from 56 to 83, the majority of whom were female.
The condition can “cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems,” according to the FDA notice.
The potential contamination may have impacted Old Europe Cheese sold with best by dates between 28 September and 14 December, 2022. A full list of impacted brands can be found on the FDA website.
Consumers are advised to check the FDA notice and see if their cheese matches the UPC codes for the impacted brands, codes which can be found by looking at the barcode on the cheeses’ packaging.
Those with cheese affected by the recall should throw away their products and sanitise surfaces they may have touched, according to officials, as listeria can survive even at refrigerated temperatures and can contaminate other foods.
Health regulators have set up a hotline for questions about the contamination, which can be reached at 269-925-5003, extension 335.