A massive new recall involving cheese at Whole Foods means Listeria is back -- so why should you be concerned?
It’s a new Listeria outbreak thanks to contaminated cheese at Whole Foods, and although you may not realize it, Listeria is both a common illness and a deadly one.
As we reported recently, Whole Foods is pulling all Papillion Organic Roquefort cheese from its shelves after officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration detected strains of Listeria Monocytogenes in a sample test from an uncut wheel of cheese, a potentially deadly bacteria that is particularly bad for young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems. But you may not realize how easy this illness is to get and how deadly it can be.
Whole Foods said it would immediately recall this cheese regardless of the sell-by date, and although no illnesses have yet been reported, it has an incubation period of up to 60 days, which makes it tough to track.
Listeria has a high fatality rate of 20 percent, even though those most vulnerable are children and the elderly, or people who have compromised immune systems. Women who are pregnant could experience miscarriages. Even those who are relatively healthy who come down with Listeria are in for a painful experience including high fever, stiffness, headaches, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, to name a few ailments.
It’s not a pleasant disease to get, and it’s fairly common. Listeria outbreaks happen all the time, prompting food recalls, many times after the fact, so it’s not uncommon for unwitting families to take home tainted food with them.
Health officials advise people to take precautions when handling and storing foods to limit Listeria outbreaks. FDA officials regularly inspect food to catch bacteria such as Listeria, as it did in this case.