4 deaths, 20 ill from Multistate Listeria Linked to Imported Frescolina Marte Ricotta Salata Cheese – 12 states & DC

Posted on October 12, 2012 by

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Contaminated ricotta salata cheese has made people sick. The following advice is especially important for pregnant women, persons with weakened immune systems, and older adults.

Do not eat imported Frescolina Marte brand ricotta salata cheese. Discard it.

If you purchased the recalled cheese, consider discarding other cheeses that have been cut with the same knife or on the same surface as the recalled cheese. This is because cross-contamination from the recalled cheese to other cheeses is a possible explanation for several illnesses in this outbreak.

Even if some of the recalled cheese has been eaten without anyone becoming ill, the rest of the cheese should be disposed of immediately.

When in doubt, throw it out. 

As of October 11, 2012, a total of 20 persons infected with the outbreak-associated strain of Listeria monocytogeneshave been reported from 12 states and the District of Columbia.

On September 14, 2012, Forever Cheese, Inc. issued an expanded recall of all lots and production codes of Frescolina Marte brand ricotta salata cheese and issued a market withdrawal of all cheeses they received that were produced by the Italian cheese exporter.

Frescolina Marte brand ricotta salata cheese may also have been referred to as Ricotta Frescolina Marte Tipo Toscanella or Ricotta Salata Soft (lot number T9425) during distribution.

Labeling of the recalled ricotta salata cheese after it was cut and repackaged has been inconsistent. Be aware that labels of repackaged cheese may not include the words “Marte” or “Frescolina.”

A total of 20 persons infected with the outbreak-associated strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 12 states and the District of Columbia. The two new cases are from California.

Four deaths have been reported, one each from Minnesota, New York, Nebraska, and California. Listeriosis did not contribute to the death in Minnesota, but contributed to at least two of the other deaths. One fetal loss also has been reported.

Results of testing of clinical specimens that were collected after September 24, 2012 might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. The recalled cheese should be off store shelves now because the recall began on September 10, 2012, and was expanded on September 14, 2012. However, more ill persons may be reported because up to 2 months can elapse between eating contaminated food and developing listeriosis.

A total of 20 persons infected with the outbreak-associated strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 12 states and the District of Columbia. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: California (3), Colorado (1), District of Columbia (1), Maryland (3), Minnesota (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (2), Virginia (1), and Washington (1).

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Posted in: Family safety