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Imported Ricotta Cheese Recalled Due to Listeria
Date:9/12/2012

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Listeria-linked illness affecting 14 people in 11 states and the District of Columbia -- including three fatalities -- have prompted the recall of an imported ricotta salata cheese, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on its website Tuesday.

On Monday, "Forever Cheese, Inc., voluntarily recalled one lot of Frescolina brand ricotta salata cheese due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination," the CDC said.

Listeriosis is a sometimes severe foodborne bacterial illness. According to the CDC, local, state and federal investigations have pinpointed the Frescolina cheese as the likely source of the outbreak, and 12 of the 14 people who fell ill say they consumed a soft cheese prior to becoming sick. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also identified the outbreak strain of Listeria in a sample of uncut Frescolina cheese, the CDC said.

Ricotta salata is a salty, dry, crumbly cheese, not the soft ricotta used in most lasagna.

The cheese was sold to distributors for retailers and restaurants in California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington between June 20 and Aug. 9, the FDA said.

The recalled packages carry lot number T9425 and/or production code 441202, according to the FDA.

Anyone who bought recalled Frescolina ricotta salata cheese should discard any remaining cheese and not eat it. This is especially important for pregnant women, those with a weakened immune system, and older adults. When in doubt, throw it out.

So far, three cases have been reported in Maryland and one case each from California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The CDC said three cases ended in death
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