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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

When Cheese Kills – Listeria Jindi Camembert and Frescolina Marte Ricotta Salata

In Australia a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to soft cheeses has sickened 18 people; two victims have died and one woman miscarried as a result of infection with the bacteria.  The outbreak began in November of 2012, at which time an 84-year-old man from Victoria and a 44-year-old Tasmanian man died as a result of their illnesses, and a New South Wales woman suffered a miscarriage.  By mid-December, 11 cases of listeriosis (Listeria infection) had been identified as part of the outbreak, and Brie and Camembert cheese sold under the brand names of Jindi and Wattle Valley were implicated as the source of the bacteria.  Now a further seven cases have been connected to the outbreak, health authorities announced Friday. Officials also expanded the recall to include all cheeses manufactured by the Jindi Company up to and including January 6.

As a result, health authorities announced a recall of four types of cheeses - 1kg packages of Jindi Brie, 1kg packages of Jindi Camembert, 1kg packages of Wattle Valley double Brie and 1kg packages of Wattle Valley Camembert – all with a best before date of December 21.

In the United Sates a total of 22 persons infected with the outbreak-associated strain of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from 13 states and the District of Columbia. 20 ill persons were hospitalized. Four deaths were reported. Public health officials determined that two of these deaths were related to listeriosis. One fetal loss was reported.

Collaborative investigation efforts of local, state, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicated that Frescolina Marte brand ricotta salata cheese imported from Italy and distributed by Forever Cheese, Inc. was the likely source of this outbreak.  On September 10, 2012, Forever Cheese, Inc. initiated a voluntary recall of this cheese with a single lot number and/or production code.