A multi-state U.S. outbreak of the bacterial contamination Listeriosis has been linked to imported Frescolina Marte Brand Ricotta Salata Cheese. There have been three fatalities.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control has reported on a significant food poisoning issue, in relation to a soft cheese. Following the outbreak, a total of 18 persons have become infected with the outbreak-associated strain of Listeria monocytogenes. The incidents have been reported from 12 states and the District of Columbia.
The associated disease, Listeriosis, primarily affects pregnant women and their new-born infants, persons with weakened immune systems, and older adults.
As a result of the outbreak, all 18 ill peoples were hospitalized and three deaths have been reported. The contaminated food has been shown to have directly contributed to at least one of these deaths (one each from Nebraska, New York, and Minnesota). In addition, one woman who was pregnant lost her unborn child.
The investigation has indicated that imported ricotta salata cheese is the likely source of this outbreak. This led to the company Forever Cheese, Inc. issuing an expanded recall of all lots and production codes of its Frescolina Marte brand ricotta salata cheese and issued a market withdrawal of all cheeses they received that were produced by the Italian cheese exporter. The cheese is also traded under the following brands: Ricotta Frescolina Marte Tipo Toscanella and Ricotta Salata Soft.
Ricotta salata is a salty white cheese made from pasteurized sheep’s milk. It is not the same as ricotta cheese, which is a very soft cheese often sold in plastic tubs.
The cheese products were sold to supermarkets, restaurants, and wholesale distributors. The advice from the CDC is straightforward: “Do not eat imported Frescolina Marte brand ricotta salata cheese. Discard it.”