Food Safety Magazine

News | August 23, 2013

Cheese-based Listeriosis Toll: Six Sick in Five States, One Dead

By Heidi Parsons


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced yesterday that an individual in Texas was found to be infected with the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes that has sickened five other people in the Midwest over the past few months. All six individuals reported being hospitalized; one of them died and another, who was pregnant, miscarried as a result of her illness.

The multi-state listeriosis outbreak, which is under investigation by the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state and local health authorities, has been linked to three cheese varieties distributed by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company of Waterloo, WI. On July 3, Crave Brothers recalled the following products, which were distributed nationwide through retail and foodservice outlets as well as by mail order:

  • Les Frères (LF225 2/2.5#) with a make date of 7-1-13 or prior, packaged in white plastic with a green and gold label.
  • Petit Frère (PF88 8/8 oz) with a make date of 7-1-13 or prior, packaged in small round wooden boxes.
  • Petit Frère with Truffles (PF88T 8/8 oz) with a make date of 7-1-13 or prior, packaged in small round wooden boxes.

Additionally, on July 5, 2013, Whole Foods Market announced a recall of Crave Brothers Les Frères cheese sold at Whole Foods Market stores.

Between July 2 and July 10, 2013, the FDA conducted an inspection at the firm’s processing facility in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. During that inspection, the FDA collected a sample of Petit Frère with Truffles that was found to contain Listeria monocytogenes with the same DNA fingerprint as the outbreak strain. The firm is not currently in production and the FDA and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture are working closely to review the firm’s corrective actions before the firm is authorized to resume cheese production.

Additional details are available on the CDC website.