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Published On: Fri, Jan 18th, 2013

Australian company, Jindi Cheese, recalls more than 100 cheeses after new Listeria cases

Image/CDC

Image/CDC

Australian-owned specialty cheese manufacturer, Jindi Cheese of Victoria, has voluntarily recalled all cheeses produced at their plant prior to Jan. 7. This comes after an investigation by the Victoria Department of Health linked a further seven cases of illness to soft cheeses this week, according to a Victoria Department of Health media release Friday.

According to Victoria’s acting Chief Health Officer, Dr Michael Ackland, there are now 18 cases of Listeria nationally including two fatalities and a miscarriage in a New South Wales woman.

Back in December, Jindi recalled batches of brie and camembert after the first cases surfaced. The current recall include 100+ products.

Health officials inspected he Jindi factory in Jindivick on Wednesday, and were satisfied that appropriate food processing, hygiene and monitoring practices were being followed for the manufacture of products from January 7.

“However, as a precaution the company demonstrated its commitment to the health and wellbeing of its customers by implementing a voluntary recall of cheeses manufactured up to and including January 6,” Dr Ackland said.

“On January 7 it implemented an even stricter regime of product testing and quality control, which Jindi is confident will ensure that all cheeses it sells are safe and free of bacterial contamination.”

Listeria monocytogenes is bacteria that is normally found in the environment and has been found in animals, birds and vegetation. It can be found in raw foods and processed foods that get contaminated after processing. Some of the most common foods that are associated with listeriosis are raw milk, soft cheeses, vegetables, and many ready to eat meats like hot dogs, deli meats and pâtés.

Those at greatest risk of serious listeria infection include pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and adults with weakened immune systems (AIDS patients have a significantly high chance, up to 300 times, of contracting the disease).

Most healthy persons show no symptoms of this disease. Initial symptoms of food borne listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, fatigue and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Primarily in high risk groups but occasionally in healthy adults, the infection can spread to the blood and central nervous system where it can cause sepsis and meningitis.

Due to a naturally depressed immune system, pregnant women are about 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to contract this disease. Though many women may only experience mild flu-like symptoms, infections during pregnancy can have devastating consequences to the fetus which include stillbirth or miscarriage, premature delivery and serious infections in the newborn.

What things can you do to prevent this infection? The CDC offers recommendations to the general public and high risk groups:

• Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as beef, pork, or poultry.
• Wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating.
• Keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and from cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods.
• Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk.
• Wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods.
• Consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible

Recommendations for persons at high risk, such as pregnant women and persons with weakened immune systems, in addition to the recommendations listed above:

• Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats, unless they are reheated until steaming hot.
• Avoid getting fluid from hot dog packages on other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces, and wash hands after handling hot dogs, luncheon meats, and deli meats.
• Do not eat soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, and Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, or Mexican-style cheeses such as queso blanco, queso fresco, and Panela, unless they have labels that clearly state they are made from pastuerized milk.
• Do not eat refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads. Canned or shelf-stable pâtés and meat spreads may be eaten.
• Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood, unless it is contained in a cooked dish, such as a casserole. Refrigerated smoked seafood, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna or mackerel, is most often labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” “smoked,” or “jerky.” The fish is found in the refrigerator section or sold at deli counters of grocery stores and delicatessens. Canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood may be eaten.

This very hardy bacterium can survive and even grow at refrigeration temperature. Because of this factor, Listeria presents challenges for us all.

Health officials say consumers who bought identified brands in recent weeks should discard or return any to the place of purchase. Others who purchased a cut portion of camembert or brie from a supermarket or deli and are unsure of the brand should also discard it.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Australia: Third fatality linked to Jindi Cheese listeria outbreak - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a follow-up to a story last month, the Listeria outbreak linked to Jindi Cheese in Australia has claimed another victim, bringing […]

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