On March 7, Vulto Creamery recalled all lots of Ouleout, Miranda, Heinennellie, and Willowemoc soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses. Two samples of Ouleout cheese tested positive for Listeria.
Six people were infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria in Connecticut (1), Florida (1), New York (3), and Vermont (1), according to the outbreak investigation from the CDC.
All six people ate soft cheese in the month before they got sick. All were hospitalized, two people in Connecticut and Vermont died, and one victim was a newborn baby. The first illness was on September 1, 2016. The most recent illness was reported on January 22, 2017.
The FDA began investigating on January 31, after the sixth illness was reported. Two samples of Vulto Ouleout cheese tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes in separate tests by the FDA and the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets.
The cheese was sold nationwide, but mostly in Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States, California, Chicago, Portland (Maine), Washington DC, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Florida, and Vermont.
On March 8, Whole Foods Market recalled Vulto Creamery Ouleout and Miranda cheese from nine stores:
- 350 Grasmere Avenue, Fairfield, CT
- 115 Prospect Street, Cambridge, MA
- 170 Great Road, Bedford, MA
- 575 Worcester Road, Framingham, MA
- 647 Washington Street, Newton, MA
- 2 Somerset Street, Portland, ME
- 1425 Central Avenue, Albany, NY
- 250 7th Ave, New York, NY
- 270 Greenwich Street, New York, NY
Whole Foods cut and packaged the cheese in clear plastic wrap with PLU codes #0200305 and #0200306 and “Sell-By” dates between December 27, 2016 and March 28, 2017.
Listeria is commonly found in raw milk and soft cheeses that are made with unpasteurized milk. It has been reported that 2% of raw milk worldwide contains Listeria and that 16% of dairy cows are infected. Even pasteurized milk can be contaminated.
The problem is Listeria causes udder infections (mastitis) in cows, as well as severe illnesses in people. Infected cows make milk that is contaminated with Listeria without showing any symptoms. Machines used to milk the cows can also be contaminated with Listeria.