Cheese recall: These brands are impacted amid listeria outbreak

If you have these brie or camembert cheese products from Old Europe or Swiss American, you should throw them away or return them for a refund.

In late September, more than 60 meat products were recalled for listeria concerns, federal food safety and health officials announced. 

Now, some people are wondering if they should also throw out their favorite brand of cheese for the same reason. Google search data over the last week show people are searching for information about a cheese recall due to a listeria outbreak. 

THE QUESTION

Is there a cheese recall due to the risk of listeria?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, there is a cheese recall due to the risk of listeria. 

WHAT WE FOUND

Brie and camembert cheese products sold at stores throughout the U.S. have been voluntarily recalled due to potential listeria contamination. Anyone who purchased the recalled products from Old Europe Cheese, Inc. and Swiss American should throw them away, health officials say. 

The products were sold under multiple brand names at stores nationwide, including Albertsons, Safeway, Meijer, Giant Goods, Sprouts and Whole Foods, among others. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a listeria outbreak linked to the cheeses that has sickened at least half a dozen people in six states as of Oct. 6. Five people have been hospitalized. 

Old Europe Cheese, Inc. first announced a voluntary recall of its brie and camembert cheese on Sept. 30, according to a notice posted on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. 

All Old Europe brie and camembert products with “best by dates” ranging from Sept. 28 through Dec. 14, 2022 are subject to the recall. A full product list and UPC codes are available on the FDA’s website. 

About one week later, Old Europe expanded the voluntary recall to include baked brie cheeses. The newly recalled products have the same “best by dates” range.

None of Old Europe’s products tested positive for bacteria, but a sample taken from one of the company’s facilities tested positive for a listeria strain that has been linked to six cases of the illness from 2017 to 2022. Those cases were not previously linked to Old Europe’s products, the FDA notice says. 

After Old Europe discovered the contamination, it alerted manufacturer Swiss American, which then added its St. Louis Brie products to the recall. The full Swiss American product list and UPC codes are available on the FDA’s website. 

More from VERIFY: Yes, there is a recall of Oatly brand oat milk

In a press release, Albertsons Companies said anyone who purchased the recalled Old Europe products should throw them away or return them to their local store for a full refund. Midwest grocery store chain HyVee, Inc., which has voluntarily recalled eight products, also said on its website that customers can also receive a refund by returning the recalled cheeses. 

People with questions about the recall can also contact Old Europe by calling 269-925-5003 ext. 355 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. E.T.

The FDA recommends cleaning and sanitizing surfaces or containers that may have come in contact with the recalled cheese products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Listeria can survive in the refrigerator and “can easily spread to other foods and surfaces,” the CDC and FDA say. 

Listeria can cause severe illness when the bacteria spread to other parts of the body, which almost always results in hospitalization and sometimes death. Older adults, pregnant people and their newborns and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness.

Symptoms of severe listeria illness usually appear within two weeks after a person eats contaminated food, but may start as early as the same day or as late as 10 weeks after, according to the CDC. 

In people who aren’t pregnant, symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions, fever and muscles ache. Pregnant people usually experience only fever, fatigue and muscle aches, but listeria illness can cause pregnancy loss or premature birth, the CDC says. 

Anyone who experiences symptoms of severe illness should call their health care provider right away. 

Those who don’t experience severe illness usually get mild food poisoning symptoms, such as diarrhea and fever, and typically recover without treatment. 

More from VERIFY: Yes, more than 60 meat products have been recalled for listeria concerns

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