People in California became concerned this month when the Food and Drug Administration posted a recall for a particular lot of ricotta cheese after tests came back positive for listeria.
Listeria, potentially fatal bacteria, primarily effects pregnant woman, newborns, adults with weakened immune systems, and the elderly.
The contaminated cheese is believed to have come from the Fresolina brand. The company has since pulled 800 wheels of ricotta salada which is the equivalent of nearly 4,800 pounds of cheese.
It was shipped to retail stores and restaurants across 18 states. Consumers are being advised to check the date on products to make sure they do not have or have received a contaminated product. Consumers, who believe they may have purchased the recalled product, or may be in doubt on whether their product is covered under the recall, are advised to throw the product away.
There have been 14 hospitalizations and two deaths associated with the outbreak. Four of the illnesses were related to pregnancy and two of the newborns were diagnosed with carrying the bacteria. The other ten infected people ranged in age from 56 to 87.
Only one of the deaths was confirmed by the CDC to have been connected to the listeria outbreak. As of yet, it is not clear if the other death was due to the cheese or from other health problems.
People exhibiting systems of fever and muscle aches, as well as gastrointestinal distress, are advised to seek medical attention immediately to avoid any further personal injury.
Source: NBS News, "Ricotta salata cheese tied to 3 listeria deaths, 14 hospitalizations," JoNel Aleccia, Sept. 12, 2012