USA – Outbreak Investigation of Listeria monocytogenes: Brie and Camembert Soft Cheese Products (September 2022)

FDA

Recalled brie and camembert cheese

The FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to Brie and Camembert soft cheese products manufactured by Old Europe Cheese, Inc. of Benton Harbor, MI, and sold at various retailers under multiple labels and brands, including Reny Picot.

Based on epidemiologic information provided by CDC, of the five patients with information available, four (80%) report eating Brie or Camembert cheese prior to illness. FDA, with assistance from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, initiated an inspection at the Old Europe Cheese, Inc. facility in Michigan, which included sample collection and analysis. Analysis of environmental samples collected at the facility showed the presence of Listeria monocytogenesWhole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis determined that the Listeria strain found in the facility matches the Listeria strain causing illnesses in this outbreak.

Old Europe Cheese, Inc. has voluntarily recalled multiple brands of Brie and Camembert cheeses produced at their Michigan facility in response to investigation findings. The firm has also halted production and distribution of their Brie and Camembert products from the Michigan facility and is working with FDA on corrective actions. Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not eat, sell, or serve recalled products and should throw them away; this includes Best By Dates ranging from September 28, 2022 to December 14, 2022, and all flavors and quantities. A full list of recalled products and stores that potentially sold these products is available below and on the firm’s recall.

FDA’s investigation is ongoing to determine if additional products are potentially contaminated. Updates to this advisory will be provided as they become available.

Recommendation

Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not eat, sell, or serve recalled products and should throw them away; this includes Best By Dates ranging from September 28, 2022 to December 14, 2022, and all flavors and quantities. A full list of recalled products and stores that potentially sold these products is available below and on the firm’s recall.

Retailers may have repackaged bulk Old Europe Cheese items into smaller containers and sold this repackaged product to consumers. This repackaged product may not bear the original labeling and product information. If you are unsure where your Brie or Camembert cheese is from, ask your retailer or throw it away.

Listeria is most likely to sicken pregnant people and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems. Other people can be infected with Listeria, but they rarely become seriously ill.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have these symptoms after eating Old Europe Cheese Inc. or Reny Picot brand Brie and Camembert products:

  • Pregnant people typically experience only fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. However, Listeria infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
  • People who are not pregnant may experience headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.

Follow FDA’s safe handling and cleaning advice and use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with these products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination, including retailers who repackaged bulk recalled cheese. Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.

Case Count Map Provided by CDC

CDC Case Count Map of Listeria monocytogenes: Brie and Camembert Soft Cheese Products

Case Counts

Total Illnesses: 6
Hospitalizations: 5
Deaths: 0
Last illness onset: August 5, 2022
States with Cases: CA, GA, MA, MI, NJ, TX
Product Distribution: Nationwide

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