Cheeses recalled over listeria fears

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A variety of cheeses made in France have been recalled across Australia due to potential listeria contamination.

The NSW Food Authority has advised that the recalled Washed Rind cheeses have been sold at supermarkets including IGA and Foodworks, as well as independent retailers across Queensland, Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT.

The affected products include a Saint Simeon (200g), Brie de Nangis (1kg), Le Vignelait Brillat Savarin (500g), Coulommiers Truffe (800g), Le Coulommiers (500g) and Brie de Brie Pasteurise (2.8kg). All of these cheeses are stamped with a best before date of April 8 or April 22.

According to the Food Standards Australia & New Zealand, listeria can cause serious illness and in some cases death. In Australia, around 150 people are hospitalised with listeriosis and about 15 people die each year from the bacteria.

The most common way of contracting the illness is by eating foods contaminated with listeria. Even if products are stored in the refrigerator, the bacteria can still grow as it’s tolerant to low temperatures.

In healthy adults and children, listeriosis causes few or no symptoms and may be mistaken for a mild viral infection or flu. While in vulnerable people, listeriosis can be serious and fatal. It can take weeks after infection for symptoms to appear, so sufferers may not even be aware that they have the illness.

The NSW Food Authority warned in a statement that “consumers should not eat this product and should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund”.

“Listeria monocytogenes may cause illness in pregnant women and their unborn babies, the elderly and people with low immune systems. If you are concerned about your health you should seek medical advice.”

Recent food recalls

Washed Rind cheeses are not the only food products to have been recalled in recent weeks.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reported that Macro Natural Sunflower Kernels (500g) sold at Woolworths with a best before date of 20 February 2019 contained a presence of an undeclared allergen – tree nuts. Consumers who have an allergy or intolerance to tree nuts (walnuts) may have a reaction if they eat this product. Home Ice Cream has also had one of its ranges recalled due to an undeclared allergen – milk. The ‘Coconutters Mango Vanilla’ with a best before date of 25 January 2020 may cause a reaction to consumers who have a milk allergy or intolerance.

The Unique Health Products brand has had its Whole Foodies Sea Vegetables Mixed Seaweed recalled for the batch with an expiry date of 30 January 2019. The recall is due to the level of arsenic being above the permitted level in the Food Standards Code. Consumers are being advised to return any of the above products for a full refund.

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