The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday cautioned consumers about Estrella Family Creamery cheeses due to a risk for Listeria monocytogenes.
This FDA advisory affects all lots of cheeses from Estrella Family Creamery of Montesano, Washington, including cheeses identified as soft, semi-soft, semi-hard and hard. According to the administration, the cheeses have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono) and may cause serious illness.
Environmental samples and one product sample collected by the FDA during an August inspection at the facility have tested positive for L. mono, which is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infections can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
The FDA is advising consumers who have the cheeses to throw them away, while any consumers with symptoms of Listeria should consult their health care professionals.
Estrella manufactures at least 18 varieties of soft ripened, semi-soft, semi-hard and hard cheeses made from raw cow or goat milk and aged 60 days or longer. The cheeses are sold in wheels or cut to order for retail markets, and do not contain lot codes.
These products are sold at specialty cheese shops, farmers markets, the company's farm store in Montesano, and through the internet. The company also sells to restaurants and takes part in cheese contests where its products are sold.
FDA will continue its investigation, working with state and local officials, and will consider taking any further action that may be necessary.
The company had previously recalled cheeses due to L. mono contamination, but resumed marketing last May.