Briton dies in listeria outbreak linked to contaminated cheese as health chiefs issue urgent warning to the public
A Briton has died of listeria amid an outbreak linked to contaminated cheese, health chiefs announced today.
Food safety watchdogs have now issued an urgent warning about the potential risk of certain Baronet semi-soft cheeses, some of which contain “exceptionally high levels” of the bacteria.
Dozens of types have already been recalled over fears of being infected with the bug.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) today urged the public not to eat any of the affected products, all of which are made by Wiltshire-based company The Old Cheese Room.
Food safety watchdogs have posted a ‘do not eat’ warning on The Old Cheese Room’s products
Baronet is a pasteurized semi-soft cheese with a pink-orange rind and a pungent smell.
It is sold in both small individual rounds and as 1kg wheels that can be shortened to order.
One recall is for the 1kg Baronet, priced at £32, with best before dates of March 21, April 11, April 12 and April 18, 2023.
The other two recalls are for the 270g Mini Baronet, which costs £9, and the 200g Baby Baronet.
What is Listeriosis?
mMost people who get listeriosis, caused by the bacteria called listeria, will only experience mild symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Other symptoms of the infection may include a high temperature of 38°C or higher, aches and pains and chills, according to the health service.
However, more serious complications can arise in people with weakened immune systems, infants, the elderly, and pregnant women.
Many foods can contain listeria, but it’s most commonly found in unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses, and ready-to-eat foods, such as prepackaged sandwiches.
Listeria is common in the environment and can be found in raw food and soil, and in the feces of many mammals, birds and fish.
According to figures, about 120 cases of listeriosis are confirmed in England every year. It affects about 1,600 in the US each year.
HOW CAN YOU AVOID LISTERIOSIS?
- wash your hands regularly with soap and water
- wash fruits and vegetables before eating them
- store ready-to-eat foods as recommended by the manufacturer
- make sure all hot food is completely hot
The Mini Baronet is recalled for three batches: March 22, April 10 and April 18, 2023.
The Baby Baronet is recalled for batches, March 22, April 4, April 10, and April 16, 2023.
The cheeses are sometimes served sliced from a deli counter.
Britons who believe they may have purchased one of the affected Baronet items are urged not to eat it and to contact their retailer.
They should also thoroughly clean any surfaces they may have touched to avoid cross-contamination of other foods.
In today’s announcement, the FSA and UKHSA said they had discovered three listeria cases ‘possibly linked to an outbreak’ and one person had died.
All those infected had a closely genetically related strain of listeria that has also been found in samples of Baronet cheese.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone involved in the outbreak contracted listeriosis as a result of eating Baronet cheese.
Listeria has also been found in samples taken from “food environments,” they said.
However, it is unclear where these are and officials have insisted there is ‘no confirmation’ that Baronet is the cause of the outbreak.
Health chiefs are investigating the cause of the outbreak.
Those who eat foods containing listeria develop an infection called listeriosis, which can cause fever, aches and pains, chills, nausea, nausea, and diarrhea.
While the bug usually clears up on its own, it can be serious in some groups, including pregnant women, newborn babies, people over 65, people with weak immune systems, and people with diabetes.
These groups may need antibiotics to treat the infection.