If You Bought Any of These Cheeses at Albertsons or Safeway, Don't Eat Them, FDA Warns

The health agency is warning the dairy products could pose a serious health risk.

From gouda and Gruyère to Comté and cheddar, having a well-stocked cheese drawer in your refrigerator can be one of the most exciting spaces in your entire kitchen. Whether you're melting it up for a fondue, using it as a topping for your pasta or potatoes, or even just indulging in a quick snack, it's simultaneously one of the most versatile and irreplaceable ingredients. But if you're a regular Albertsons or Safeway shopper and have recently stocked up on cheeses, you may want to be aware of a new warning from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Read on to see which products the health agency says you shouldn't eat right now.

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There have been several recent dairy-related recalls.

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Dairy products can be susceptible to going bad if they're not stored properly or not used quickly enough. But in a few recent cases, they've also been the focus of recalls after regulators became aware of potential health risks.

On Aug. 5, the FDA announced that Colorado-based Royal Crest Dairy had issued a voluntary recall of its Farmer's 2% Reduced Fat Chocolate Milk Pints after it discovered it could potentially contain egg, which is a known food allergen. And on Aug. 19, the health agency announced that Colorado-based Epicurean Butter LLC was recalling the Wegmans Lemon Dill Finishing Butter it produces for the popular regional grocery store chain. In this case, the company pulled the product from shelves after an herb supplier warned them that ingredients could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

It's also not the first cheese-related recall over the past few months. On Aug. 29, the FDA announced that Pennsylvania-based Keswick Creamery had issued a recall on 10 cheeses it had distributed to retail locations in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. According to the agency's announcement, routine sampling of the company's production facilities came back positive for Listeria monocytogenes, meaning products could be contaminated with the dangerous microorganism. Now, officials are cautioning other cheeses could be putting your health at risk.

The FDA is warning consumers not to eat certain cheeses sold at Albertsons, Safeway, and elsewhere.

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On Sept. 30, the FDA announced that Michigan-based Old Europe Cheese, Inc. had issued a recall for its Brie and Camembert cheeses. The affected items have best-by dates that run from Sept. 28, 2022, through Dec. 14, 2022. The agency says that the cheeses were distributed to major supermarkets and retailers across the U.S. from Aug. 1, 2022, through Sept. 28, 2022, including but not limited to Albertsons, Safeway, Meijer, Harding's, Shaw's, Price Chopper, Market Basket, Raley's, Save Mart, Giant Foods, Stop & Shop, Fresh Thyme, Lidl, Sprouts, Athenian Foods, and Whole Foods.

The health agency warns that many of the affected items could have been purchased in bulk and repackaged into smaller containers by retailers, meaning they will not bear the company's original branding or product information. A complete list of the items can be found on the recall notice.

The company says it pulled the cheeses after a "full environmental audit" of the company's products and facilities when a single sample out of 120 returned positive for Listeria monocytogenes. The dangerous bacteria typically causes short-term symptoms in healthy people, such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. But the agency warns that infections can be fatal in young children, the elderly, or the immunocompromised and can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in those who are pregnant.

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The FDA issued another cheese recall for another retailer on the same day.

Indianapolis - Circa April 2016: Whole Foods Market, America's Healthiest Grocery Store I

And that's not the only cheese-related recall that's been issued: On the same day, the FDA announced that Whole Foods Market had issued a recall for Zerto Fontal cheese. The agency says that the affected product was sent to 54 stores in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York for purchase from Sept. 21, 2022, through Sept. 29, 2022. The item is packaged by the slice using the store's scale labels and can be identified by the product code 20565300000, sell by dates of 9/21/2022 through 10/20/2022, and the name "Zerto Frontal" printed on its price sticker.

Whole Foods Market says it initiated the recall because the cheese contains undeclared egg lysozyme, an egg white protein and known food allergen that can cause "a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction" in some people. The company became aware of the issue after a customer complained of becoming ill after consuming the item.

Here's what you should do if you've purchased any cheeses that are a part of the recalls.

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The FDA warns that anyone who believes they purchased the Brie or Camembert cheeses should not consume them and instead throw them out immediately. The agency also recommends that customers "use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with these products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination," warning Listeria monocytogenes can survive in the refrigerator and potentially spread to other foods. Old Europe Cheese has also set up a dedicated phone line to answer customers' questions, which is listed on the agency's notice.

Any customers who believe they purchased the recalled Zerto Fontal cheese from Whole Foods can bring a valid receipt to store locations for a full refund. Anyone with questions can also contact the company at a customer support hotline listed on the FDA recall bulletin.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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