A New York raw milk cheese company whose soft cheese was linked to an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono) that infected eight people in four states, two of whom died, has been ordered by a federal court not to manufacture its ready-to-eat aged soft, semi-soft, and hard cheeses until it complies with food safety regulations.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against Vulto Creamery LLC and its owner and manager Johannes “Jos” H. Vulto. Under the terms of the consent decree, Vulto cannot prepare, process, manufacture, pack and/or hold FDA-regulated food products until it can ensure that L. mono is not present in its facility and its food.
After identifying the source of the L.mono outbreak, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) moved quickly to get the company to recall and destroy all its cheese products and cease production to prevent any more of its contaminated cheeses from harming consumers. During its inspection of the plant, agents also found unsanitary conditions and concluded that the food prepared, packed and held at the facility may have become contaminated with filth or otherwise be harmful to health.
L. mono is a pathogenic bacterium that can cause listeriosis, a rare but potentially life-threatening illness. People with compromised immune systems, the elderly, pregnant women and developing fetuses are particularly susceptible to listerosis.
The consent decree requires the company, among other things, to retain an independent laboratory to collect and analyze environmental and finished samples for the presence of L. mono, retain an independent expert and develop a program to control L. mono, and eliminate unsanitary conditions at its facility.
Source: FDA News Release