Whole Foods is expanding its recall of products from a creamery linked to two food-poisoning deaths to include more stores.
The grocery chain is pulling soft cheeses made with raw, unpasteurized milk by Vulto Creamery from eight more stores in Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey, the FDA announced on Monday.
Whole Foods had already pulled soft Vulto cheeses from nine stores in the Northeast after a listeria outbreak in the creamery’s cheese was linked to two deaths and six illnesses.
Vulto has recalled eight types of soft, raw-milk cheeses since the outbreak was first reported in early March. None of the cheeses currently linked to the outbreak were sold at Whole Foods, and the grocery chain hasn’t received any reports of illness from customers who purchased the raw cheese from its stores.
Raw milk cheeses are unpasteurized, meaning that they do not go through a sterilization process intended to kill bacteria. Typically, that isn’t a concern, especially if cheeses are aged for at least 60 days. However, when the raw cheeses are soft – as in the case of the Vulto Creamery outbreak – they may not have been aged for long enough to kill bacteria such as listeria and salmonella.
“If you purchased these products, do not eat them,” reported the Food Poisoning Bulletin. “Throw them away in a sealed or double bagged container so other people and animals can’t eat them, or take them or your receipt back to the place of purchase for a refund. Then clean out your refrigerator with a mild bleach solution.”
Listeria symptoms, such as high fever, stiffness, and nausea, typically appear a few days to a few weeks after eating the contaminated item. Usually, healthy individuals are only affected in the short term, but infections can be fatal for young children, elderly people, and pregnant women.