Panera Bread is recalling all of its 2 oz. and 8 oz. cream cheese products sold in its bakery-cafes nationwide after samples for some of the cream cheese tested positive for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria commonly linked to outbreaks of food poisoning.
According to Panera, the recalled cream cheese has an expiration date on or before 4/2/18. The company said that the recall was initiated after it discovered Listeria on one variety of its 2 oz. cream cheese products made on one particular production day.
Panera said that samples of the cream cheese made before and after the production date in question have tested negative for Listeria. No illnesses have been connected to the Panera cream cheese products, but the company chose to recall all its 2 oz and 8 oz. cream cheese products preemptively “out of an abundance of caution.”
The recall affects only cream cheese products sold in Panera bakery-cafes in the U.S. and not in Canada.
Affected 2 oz. Cream Cheese Varieties: Plain Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Plain Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Chive & Onion Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Honey Walnut Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Wild Blueberry Cream Cheese.
Affected 8 oz. Cream Cheese: Plain Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Plain Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Chive & Onion Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Honey Walnut Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Wild Blueberry Cream Cheese.
Listeria monocytogenes is not a leading cause of food poisoning, but it is deadlier than most other types of foodborne illnesses. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1,600 people are sickened by Listeria each year and 260 of those die.
The populations most at risk are older adults and seniors, pregnant women, organ transplant patients on anti-rejection drugs, and people with weakened immune systems or other health problems, such as HIV/AIDS and other autoimmune diseases, cancer, end-stage renal disease, liver disease, alcoholism, and diabetes.
Listeriosis usually manifests as fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea, nausea, cramps, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Almost everyone who is diagnosed with listeriosis has “invasive” infection, in which the bacteria spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
Pregnant women are approximately 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis from eating contaminated foods. Listeriosis typically manifests as a mild flu-like illness in pregnant women, but is usually fatal for the unborn child, as it can result in miscarriage or stillbirth. Babies that survive a Listeria infection often develop lifelong health problems.
Consumers in possession of these products should discard them immediately and contact Panera Bread Customer Service at 855-6-PANERA from Monday through Sunday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST, or visit Panera.custhelp.com for a full refund.