Missouri-based Morningland Dairy is recalling 68,957 pounds of raw milk cheese it has sold since Jan. 1 because it may be contaminated with Listeria and also potentially Staphylococcus, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The cheese is sold in vacuum-sealed plastic packages throughout the continental United States in retail stores, mail order, crop sharing associations and direct delivery. No illnesses have been reported as yet from eating the cheese, made from unpasteurized cow and goat milk, the FDA said.
Whole Foods announced that it is participating in the recall. Cheese is sold at Whole Foods stores in the Northeast re-wrapped, but labeled with the dairy's name.
Listeria can cause flu-like symptoms, nausea and diarrhea in healthy people as well as potentially fatal infections in the very young or those with compromised immune systems, according to the FDA. Staphylococcal food poisoning commonly causes nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and could cause headaches and muscle cramping in more severe cases.
On its website, Morningland tells consumers that it hasn't gotten a report of anyone getting sick from its cheese in the 30 years the dairy has been making cheese.
"We are being requested by the FDA to recall all of our cheese sold since January 1st, 2010. We are complying with that request. We ask that our customers return their cheese or refrain from consumption while we diligently investigate this matter," the dairy said in its statement. "We are concerned for you, our customers, and we apologize for the inconvenience and the concern you must be feeling. We ask for your prayers, your patience, and your continued support as we strive to continue to provide a healthy, high-quality, artisan raw milk cheese."
The recall was prompted by test results from a sample taken at a store in Venice, Calif. that showed Morningland Dairy Hot Pepper Colby and Garlic Colby cheeses contained the bacteria, the FDA says. The dairy has suspended all cheese-making while it works with the FDA and the Missouri Milk Board to discover the cause of the contamination.
Morningland Dairy Raw Milk Cheese varieties from cow's milk included in the recall are Colby, Hot Pepper Colby, Garlic Colby, Italian Colby, Dill Colby, No-Salt Added Mild Cheddar, Mild Cheddar, Medium Sharp Cheddar and Sharp Cheddar.
Also included in the recall are Ozark Hill Farms Raw Goat Milk Cheese in the following varieties: Colby, Hot Pepper Colby, Italian Colby, Garlic 'N' Chive Colby, Mild Cheddar, Medium Sharp Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar.
The recalled codes are handwritten on the front of the packaging label, and range from A10 (for Jan. 1, 2010) through F250 (for June 25, 2010). Consumers should not eat the cheese and can call the dairy at (417) 469-3817 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or email the dairy at email@example.com.
Morningland Dairy recalls cheese over Listeria and Staphylococcus risk