The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) announced today it has been involved with an investigation concerning a multi-state outbreak of six confirmed cases of Listeria monocytogenes. Patients sickened in this outbreak were reported from Connecticut, Florida, New York, and Vermont and range in age from 0 to 89. Two of the six cases have died, one of which was a Connecticut resident. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials, has identified Ouleout cheese from Vulto Creamery of Walton, New York, as the likely cause of the outbreak.
Vulto Creamery began contacting their customers to return any purchased Ouleout cheese on March 3, 2017 after being informed of a positive Ouleout cheese sample and subsequently issued a formal recall including their Miranda, Heinennelli, Willowemoc cheeses as well. These soft raw milk cheeses were distributed nationwide, with most being sold at retail locations in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States, California, Chicago, Portland, and Washington D.C.
DPH is aware that Whole Foods grocery in Connecticut had received cheese from Vulto for retail sales in its Fairfield location and has initiated its own recall. FDA is currently collecting additional distribution information from the creamery. Specialty cheese shops in Connecticut who carry Vulto Creamery cheeses may have received recalled product and should check their inventory.
Retailers and customers who have recalled cheese in their establishments or homes should throw the cheese away and not consume or sell it. Display cases or refrigerators where potentially contaminated product was stored should be washed and sanitized, as well as any cutting boards or cheese knives used to cut, serve, or store the product. Hands should be washed with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitization process.
Listeriosis is a rare but serious illness usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes. Anyone who experiences fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms, or develops fever and chills while pregnant after eating any of the recalled products, should seek medical care. Symptoms can appear from a few days up to a few weeks after consumption of the contaminated food. Listeriosis can be fatal, especially in certain high-risk groups. These groups include the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems and certain chronic medical conditions. In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and serious illness or death in newborn babies.
Further updates will be made publicly available as the investigation proceeds.
Links to CDC and FDA notices: