CDFA Issues Order to Withdraw Products; No Illnesses Reported
PETALUMA, Friday, June 23, 2006, - The California Department of Food and Agriculture has issued an order to Spring Hill Cheese Co. to withdraw from retail distribution all varieties of cheese and cheese curds manufactured at their farmstead facility in Petaluma, due to detection of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.
CDFA inspectors found the bacteria as a result of product testing conducted during an extensive investigation of the facility after the company's "Jersey Jack" cheese was ordered removed from retail shelves a week ago based on bacteria detected in a routine sample collected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The withdrawal order involves removal of several thousand pounds of cheese from grocery stores, retail outlets and farmers markets throughout California and includes the following Spring Hill Cheese Co. varieties labeled as: Jersey Jack, Monterey Jack, Mike's Firehouse Jack, Garlic Jack, Horseradish Jack, Sun-Dried Tomato Jack, Zesty Italian Jack, Pesto Jack, Teleme Jack, Dry Jack, Sage Cheddar, Garlic Cheddar, White Cheddar, Old World Portuguese Cheese, and all packaged cheese curds. The cheeses are sold in 8-lb wheels, 8-oz wedges and blocks of a variety of sizes.
The company's cheeses labeled as Colby Jack, Veggie Jack, Colby Cheddar, Mike's Firehouse Cheddar, Jersey Cheddar or Feta, are manufactured at a separate facility and are not affected by the order. Cheeses or curds marked with a white product code sticker starting with the numbers 173 or higher are also not subject to withdrawal. No illnesses have been reported to date.
Listeria monocytogenes may cause listeriosis among "at risk" people, including pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache and stiff neck can occur. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness; however, infections during pregnancy can lead to more serious problems for the fetus. If a related illness is suspected, consumers are encouraged to consult a physician immediately.
Consumers should discard the cheese or return it to the place of purchase for a refund. California consumers who have purchased Spring Hill Co. cheese may call the company at 707-762-3446 with questions about the product withdrawal.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814