Whole Foods Recalls Crave Brothers Les Freres Cheese Due to Listeria Outbreak: What You Need to Know

Photo: ABC News
Photo: ABC News

In response to the bacterial infection outbreak that’s taken at least one life and sickened dozens more, Whole Foods Market Inc. is recalling the Crave Brothers Les Freres cheese.

The cheese, though pasteurized, Whole Foods says, may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria can cause listeriosis infection, and it may take up to four weeks for symptoms to show. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, headaches, stiff neck, confusion and loss of balance and convulsions. If you’re pregnant, listeria is especially dangerous to you. Listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth and even be fatal for a mom-to-be. If you’re experiencing symptoms, see your doctor immediately. The infection can be treated with antibiotics.

The cheese was sold in 30 states and also in Washington D.C. under names including Les Freres and Crave Brothers Les Freres. The cheese was cut and packaged in clear plastic wrap and sold with Whole Foods Market scale labels. Currently, Whole Foods has played signs in all of its storefronts to inform customers about the recall. So far, health and safety officials said cases have been identified in at least three states, including Illinois and Minnesota. Public health officials in Illinois noted that one resident became sick after eating the contaminated cheese in May and in Minnesota, officials said that one elderly person in the state died and another was hospitalized after illnesses in June linked to the cheese.

Crave Brothers is based in Waterloo, Wis. The company announced a voluntary recall of Les Freres, Petit Frere, and Petit Frere with Truffles cheese made on July 1 or earlier, citing that the cheeses were distributed around the country through retail and food service outlets and mail order. Whole Foods said customers should throw the cheese away and bring in their receipts for a full refund.

Not sure about soft cheese during pregnancy? It’s less about the cheese and more about the process used to make the cheese. Before chowing down, be sure to check the ingredients list and make sure the cheese is made from pasteurized milk. Unpasteurized cheese can contain disease-spreading organisms that put you (and baby) at a heightened risk for illnesses. These types of unpasteurized cheeses also carry the listeria monocytogenes, which are deadly bacterium that are way more likely to affect pregnant women. The pasteurization process is what helps to kill these nasty bacteria (along with other bad organisms). Cheese varieties like Brie, feta and goat cheese are more likely to be pasteurized in the U.S., but it’s important to always double check the ingredients just to be sure.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Is It Okay to Eat Steak During Pregnancy?

Can I Eat Shrimp While Pregnant?

Pregnancy Safety Central