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Whole Foods Recalls Cheese for Possible Listeria Contamination

Most everyone knows that good cheese gets its color and flavor from various biological processes, some of which involve the interaction of milk proteins with bacteria. It has to be a particular type of bacteria, though, and definitely not one that has the potential to kill. Like Listeria, for instance, which is exactly what turned up in several Whole Foods-supplied cheeses, prompting a recall of the cheeses from Whole Foods stores in 30 states and Washington, D.C. 

Whole Foods took the step of initiating a voluntary recall of their Crave Brothers Les Freres, Petit Frere and Petit Frere with Truffles cheeses made before July 1 after customers in Illinois and Minnesota were found to have contracted Listeria from it. The Illinois resident took ill back in May. One elderly Minnesota resident died from Listeria symptoms back in June, and another was hospitalized for treatment. The company acted to ensure that no other serious injuries came as a result of the cheese products. 


Listeria is not usually fatal, but the elderly, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to the effects of the bacteria, which include nausea, vomiting, high fever, headache, diarrhea, body stiffness and abdominal pain.

No other illnesses have been reported, but Whole Foods, known around the country for carrying smaller brands as well as hard-to-find organic, holistic and allergy-sensitive foods as well as those certified to conform to vegetarian or vegan diets, decided that a recall was the only way to ensure that cheeses possibly contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes were taken out of circulation. The store is offering a refund of the purchase price to customers who present a receipt, and advised shoppers to immediately discard any uneaten containers of the affected cheeses.

Source: Huffington Post: "Whole Foods Cheese Recall: Crave Brothers Les Freres Product Recalled Over Listeria Outbreak Fears," AP, July 5, 2013. 

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