FDA Says Toss Estrella Family Cheeses

MONTESANO, Wash., Sept. 4 (UPI) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Saturday warned people Estrella Family Creamery cheeses may be tainted with illness-causing Listeria monocytogenes.

The federal agency recommends people dispose of any products they may have purchased from the Montesano, Wash., cheese maker. The FDA said Estrella cheeses are sold at specialty shops, farmers markets, the company’s farm store in Montesano and on the Internet. The company also sells to restaurants and takes part in cheese contests where its products are sold.

The FDA said in a release on its Web site its advisory affects all Estrella Family Creamery cheeses. The company makes at least 18 types 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, the agency said.

The FDA recommends people discard the cheeses in the trash in a sealed container so children and animals cannot get to them.

The FDA did not say how many pounds of cheese may be affected by its advisory. It said a complete product list was unavailable but some varieties include: Black Creek Buttery, Dominoes, Guapier, Grisdale Goat, Subblime, Partly Sunny, Wynoochee River Blue, Caldwell Crik Chevrette, Old Apple Tree Tomme, Valentina, Vineyard Tomme, Brewleggio, Red Darla, Reposee, Bea Truffled, Jalapeno Buttery and Weebles.

The FDA said environmental samples and one product sample collected during an inspection of the company’s facility in August tested positive for L. mono.

L. mono can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems, the FDA said. Listeria infections are known to cause miscarriages an stillbirths in pregnant women. Healthy people may suffer high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

The company previously recalled cheeses due to L. mono contamination in February and March but resumed marketing in May.

The FDA said would consider taking further action if warranted by its investigation.

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