Gouda Recall Highlights Deadly Statistics

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New York State cheese maker recalls product due to bacterial contamination
flikr/eelke dekker
A wheel of gouda cheese

According to a breaking report from Food Safety News, Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese, a cheese company based in Mecklenberg, N.Y., has issued a recall on a recent batch of Gouda.  The cheese hit shelves sometime after its March 26th distribution date, and is marked with the company’s “Schuyler” or “Bier Meck” label.   

The batch of twelve wheels, manufactured on December 20th, 2012, is being recalled due to contamination by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.  The contamination was discovered during routine product sampling by the Food and Drug Association.    

According to the Centers for Disease Control, pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems, are at the greatest risk of dangerous infection.

Although no cases of illness have yet been attributed to this particular channel of contamination, cases of listeria sickness result in a twenty percent fatality rate.  A recent article by Bloomberg News mentions that the FDA is currently working to find ways to reduce the danger of listeria outbreaks, which have been on the rise for the last ten years.  The article refers to a 2008 outbreak in which over 700 people were infected with listeriosis, at least nine of whom died.  The same article also cites the 2011 outbreak of listeria-infected cantaloupe that began at Jensen Farms in Colo., but spread, killing at least 30 people across the country in the worst outbreak of the bacteria in 90 years. 

These chilling statistics are no surprise, however; sources say that FDA efforts to combat the spread of listeria contamination have stalled since the early millennium. 

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