Whole Foods is recalling ‘Pecorino Aged Cheese in Walnut Leaves’ due to listeria contamination

By Staff Writer

Feb 18, 2016 11:02 AM EST

Whole Foods is recalling a specialty cheese from a store in Florida and one in New York. The supermarket chain has detected this particular product is contaminated with a bacterium called listeria which can cause fatal food poisoning.

 According to ABC News, spokeswoman Liz Burkhart stated that the American supermarket giant is quickly calling back all the "Pecorino Aged Cheese in Walnut Leaves" before reports of food poisoning start pouring in. Their fear is the contaminated product, sold in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the Bowery section of New York City, can have a serious impact on the health of the consumers.

Listeria contamination can actually be quite deadly. Listeriosis is a serious infection that is already quite widespread in the US and is caused by consuming food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. As FDA represents, the bacterium mostly affects individuals with weak immune system, elderly people, pregnant women and infants. Healthy individuals can also suffer from short bouts of severe headaches, nausea, high fever, stiffness, stomach pains, and diarrhea. Once the contamination tag gets attached to a big brand name like Whole Foods, it can be very difficult to shake it off, and hence the company is leaving no stone unturned to call the damaged goods back. However, no reports of illness have been reported yet.

The recall becomes a little easier for the company as the codes and sell-by-dates for the specialty cheese are unique to the store from where they were sold, says Food Safety News. The Florida store had a code number of 290107 with sell-by dates from February 29 to March 8, while the New York outlet followed the code 294239 with sell-by dates of March 3 to March 8. The packages in question were taken off the shelves almost immediately on March 8 after Whole Foods came to know of the potential contamination. The detection happened during a routine inspection by a supplier who sampled certain products which tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

All retailers and distributors have been notified of the recall. Consumers have been alerted about the situation and have been asked to check and discard any Mitica brand Pecorino Aged in Walnut Leaves cheese with the recalled lot numbers issued by the stores. They can also bring back their purchases along with their receipts for a full refund. The stores' toll-free numbers and time slots for related enquiries have been set up should the buyers want to have their questions answered over the phone.

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