An outbreak of Listeria has infected a number of people in The USA and has claimed the lives of three of them. The cause of the deadly outbreak, a cheese imported from Italy. The strain of the outbreak has spread across 11 states in The USA and 1 person died directly from Listeriosis.
This post written by Danny Flynn was published on Foodsafetynews.com that explains the outbreak:
The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: California (1), Colorado (1), District of Columbia (1), Maryland (3), Minnesota (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1) and Virginia (1).
Forever Cheese, an importer of products from Italy, Spain and Portugal, Monday recalled the Ricotta SalataFrescolina brand from one specific production date for possible Listeria contamination.
It also said the problem was being investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Later Tuesday, Maryland state health officials said three people with Listeria illnesses were being treated in area hospitals.
The cheese was sold to distributors for retailers and restaurants in California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington between June 20, 2012 and August 9, 2012.
Neither Forever Cheese nor FDA has released a “consumer friendly” distribution list of establishments that received the bad cheese.
Consumers who purchased recalled Frescolina brand ricotta salata cheese are advised not to eat it and to discard any remaining cheese. CDC said this is especially important for pregnant women, persons with weakened immune systems and older adults.
Authorities have warned that consumers should not risk consuming contaminated cheese. If you are unsure, rather throw it away that risk eating a contaminated product because the side effects of Listeriosis can be deadly.
Authorities have warned that pregnant women, children and the elderly are the most at risk due to their lower immune systems. The mortality rate has been estimated by authorities at almost half. People should look out for symptoms that include a fever, muscle pain, diarrhoea and stomach pain. The risk of this disease is that it takes up to 2 months before the symptoms of this sneaky disease show themselves.
Although not all food imported is at risk, the way food is stored, handled and consumed affects and contributes to listeria contamination. Highest risk foods are ready-to-eat foods and those stored at refrigeration temperature for a long period such as fruit or dairy products.
People whose jobs entail working with food or food surfaces should be extra careful as it’s not only their own health at stake but that of those who consume their products. They have an extra responsibility to wash their hands and ensure cleanliness at all times. If food handlers at all stages in the production line abide by food safety regulation, we can stop the spread of many of the food borne illnesses plaguing our society at present.