The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to discard cheeses from Estrella Family Creamery of Montesano, Wash., because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Environmental samples and one product sample collected by the FDA during an August 2010 inspection at the facility have tested positive for L. monocytogenes.
This advisory affects all lots of Estrella Family Creamery cheeses, at least 18 varieties of soft ripened, semi-soft, semi-hard and hard cheeses made from raw cow or goat milk and aged 60 days or longer. The cheeses are sold in wheels or cut to order for retail markets, and do not contain lot codes.
Listeria monocytogenes is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infections can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
Consumers should discard the cheeses in the trash in a sealed container so that children and animals, such as wildlife, cannot access them. Consumers who are concerned about illness from L. mono and consumers who have experienced symptoms of illness from the consumption of Estrella cheeses should consult their healthcare professionals.
FDA will continue its investigation, working with state and local officials, and will consider taking any further action that may be necessary.