In August, the FDA inspected the farm, collecting a new set of samples. The samples revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the production space and aging rooms. Further, Estrella’s owners revealed that their own tests between March and May 2010, showed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in certain cheese products. On August 16, 2010, an FDA sample of “Caldwell Crik Chevrette,” that was ready to be shipped to customers, tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. FDA testing revealed the Listeria monocytogenes pathogen found in August was indistinguishable from the pathogen found in March, indicating Estrella had not remedied the insanitary conditions found by the WADA in February and March 2010.
On September 3, 2010, the FDA asked Estrella to recall all cheese products. The company refused. The FDA issued a warning to consumers regarding the potential presence of Listeria monocytogenes in Estrella cheese on September 4, 2010.
Under the warrant signed last week, Estrella’s cheese products were seized to prevent the sale and dissemination of adulterated and potentially contaminated food.
The seizure is a civil action undertaken by the FDA. Assistant United States Attorneys David East and Kerry Keefe are handling the matter for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.