A lawsuit will be filed in California this week against Forever Cheese, Inc., The Aniata Cheese Co., and Cookbook Los Angeles—the cheese importer, distributor and retailer whose Marte brand Frescolina ricotta salata cheese was identified as the source of a multi-state Listeria outbreak in September. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of Joanna Valentine and Laurie Sorenson and their infant son, who was born prematurely when Ms. Valentine became ill with a Listeria infection after eating the imported ricotta salata cheese.
Ms. Valentine, who was 25 weeks pregnant, consumed Listeria-contaminated ricotta salata cheese several times in the first week of September. She began experiencing symptoms of Listeria infection, including fatigue and back pain, on September 12. Over the next several days, her symptoms worsened and she was treated at an urgent care clinic. On September 18, Ms. Sorenson took Ms. Valentine to the emergency room, where she was rushed to labor and delivery for treatment. Their son was born the next day, at 27 weeks gestation. Both he and Ms. Valentine’s placenta tested positive for the same strain of Listeria that was isolated from samples of ricotta salata cheese imported by Forever Cheese. The baby remains hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit, where he has been treated for a myriad of issues, including high blood pressure, kidney failure, and spinal meningitis and bleeding around his brain.