Some Tainted Cheese Has Reached the Market, Company Warns
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) _ General Foods Corp., which has issued a nationwide recall of its Liederkranz cheese, says some of the contaminated cheese may have reached consumers.
The company says some of its Liederkranz soft-ripened cheese may be tainted with the same bacteria linked to 61 deaths or stillbirths recently in seven states.
″Some chese at the retail level is contaminated,″ said Kathleen MacDonough, a General Foods spokeswoman, although the company said Friday there had been no reports of illness associated with the cheese.
Consumers should return all packages of Liederkranz to stores for a full refund, she said.
The cheese was made by the Fisher Cheese Co. of Van Wert, Ohio, and distributed nationwide by a General Foods subsidiary, Otto Roth and Co. of Moonachie, N.J.
Friday’s warning came after tests were conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Cincinnati on samples of Liederkranz cheese shipped to retail stores, General Foods said in a news release.
The FDA found evidence last week of a bacteria called listeria monocytogenes in a batch of the cheese at a warehouse. Because the source of contamination was unknown, General Foods on Thursday ordered the withdrawal of all its Liederkranz cheese as a precaution.
Listeria monocytogenes has been linked to at least 61 deaths and stillbirths in California, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Texas and Washington.
The bacteria that caused the earlier infections was found in two types of soft, white Mexican-style cheeses manufactured by Jalisco Mexican Products Inc. of Artesia, Calif.
Ms. MacDonough said it was still unclear whether the listeria bacteria found in Liederkranz which had already reached retail shelves is listeria monocytogenes, the strain that caused the deaths.
Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a mild, flu-like illness in most people, but is sometimes more serious, particularly in the very young, the very old or those with weakened immune systems.