Contaminated Ricotta Salata an Ongoing Investigation
Earlier today we heard that a ricotta salata imported by Forever Cheese and sold in 11 states is contaminated with listeria, resulting in 14 reported illnesses and one death. Forever Cheese issued a voluntary recall of the product, and recommend that consumers who may still have the cheese ask retailers where it came from or just throw it out to be safe.
culture's editor Elaine Khosrova spoke with Michelle Buster, vice president of Forever Cheese about the recall:
This is still very much an on-going investigation. The company in Southern Italy that makes the ricotta salata being recalled has been in business for 35 years with no problems. There is no outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes among their customers in Italy; they were shocked to learn of this situation. But we want to assure the very best quality and safety, so we are doing a lot of testing right now and I'm waiting to hear more from the CDC [Centers for Disease Control].
The Associated Press has the story:
Jeff DiMeo of Forever Cheese said the recalled Frescolina brand ricotta salata cheese is from one batch manufactured in Italy’s Puglia region but would not name the Italian company that manufactured it. The Food and Drug Administration identified the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in an uncut sample of the cheese.
Most people who consumed the cheese would not know where it came from because it was distributed in large wheels for retailers or restaurants to break down into smaller servings or packages. Ricotta salata is a salty, white cheese made from pasteurized sheep’s milk. It is not the same as soft ricotta cheese sold in tubs and used to make lasagna.