Last week, the CDC reported that artisanal cheese manufacturer Vulto Creamery would be recalling a number of its soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses in response to a multistate listeria outbreak. This has forced Vulto to remove seven of its varieties from stores: Andes, Blue Blais, Hamden, Heinennellie, Miranda, Ouleout (the original source of the outbreak), Walton Umber, and Willowemoc.
Reports began surfacing last September of people experiencing symptoms of listeria after eating the cheese; the latest reported one, as of this writing, dates back to the end of January. Two people—one from Connecticut, the other from Vermont—have died as a result of this. One of the victim’s widows has recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Vulto. The victims were between 55 and 89 years old (the elderly, along with youth and pregnant women, are at greatest risk for listeria). Though the affected consumers so far have been confined to the the East Coast, the cheese has been sold throughout the the country, in the mid-Atlantic and northeast, California, Chicago, Portland, and D.C.
Vulto is a company that’s amassed something of a cultish following in recent years. Whole Foods, which sells the cheeses in droves, has recalled the cheese from nine of its stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Maine. The affected cheeses will likely have a sell-by date between December 27, 2016, to March 4, 2017, with PLU codes 0200305 and 0200306.
As the problem is quelled and contained, the FDA recommends that consumers not eat any of the recalled products. Instead, it asks consumers to throw these cheeses away in a sealed or double-bagged container so that they don't affect any other people or animals; return any purchased items for a full refund; and clean your fridge thoroughly with bleach. Stay safe!
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.