Vulto Creamery, an artisanal cheesemaker in Walton, N.Y., has been ordered by a federal judge to stop production on its cheeses after a multi-state listeriosis outbreak last year that sickened eight people and caused two deaths.
According to the Hartford Courant, in March of 2017, Vulto Creamery recalled its famous Ouleout cheese, a washed-rind cow’s milk cheese made with unpasteurized milk, after it was determined to be the source of the outbreak. Eight people ranging in age from 1 to 89 were sickened, and two died.
According to Food Safety News, the company recalled the Ouleout cheese on March 3, 2017. Four days later the recall was expanded to include all Vulto’s soft and semi-soft cheese, and four days after that, it was expanded further to include all produced by Vulto Creamery. The company reportedly destroyed its entire, and Buzzfeed reports that the company has not been producing any cheese since, though it has not been legally prevented from doing to until now.
An FDA report indicates that inspectors found multiple food safety violations at the creamery. Now Vulto Creamery has been prohibited from manufacturing or distributing food unless it meets several conditions set out by the court, including hiring an independent expert to develop an effective sanitation program, and receiving written confirmation from the FDA that manufacturing processes comply with food safety laws.
Listeriosis is a potentially fatal food-borne illness caused by eating food contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Symptoms include fever, aches, nausea, and diarrhea, and the condition is especially dangerous for newborns, small children, the elderly, people who are pregnant, and those with impaired immune systems.
The creamery website is still up and running, listing five cheeses, including Ouleout, but a "recall" link on the site returns an empty page, and Google search results for Vulto carry the message "Permanently closed." Listeria was responsible for one of the biggest food recalls of 2017.