September 29, 2003
Bingham Hill Cheese Company
Voluntarily Recalls Blue Cheese Because of Possible Health Risk
In an expansion of an earlier recall of September 12, 2003, Bingham Hill
Cheese Company of Fort Collins, Colorado is voluntarily recalling
approximately 2,000 lbs their cow's milk Rustic Blue Cheese purchased since
August 1, 2003. The cheese is being recalled because it has the potential to
be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause
serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly
people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy
individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe
headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, L. monocytogenes
infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
The cheese is being recalled hours after the USFDA alerted the company to
test results from two wheels that tested positive for the microorganism. The
wheels that tested positive were from batches marked BL04-055 and BL04-069.
This is an expansion of an earlier recall of batch BL04-063. Other batches
sold after August 1, 2003 include BL04-041, BLO4-055, BL04-62, BL04-69,
There have been no reported illnesses to date.
All batches of Bingham Hill Rustic Blue cheese purchased since August 1,
2003 are being recalled as a measure of safety. The company is urging
consumers to throw out the cheese (for added safety) or return it to the
place of purchase for a refund.
The cheese was distributed in Colorado, Manhattan (NY), San Franscisco Bay
area (CA), Chicago (IL), Houston (TX), Minneapolis (MN), Portland (OR),
Santa Fe (NM), Miami (FL), Palm Springs (CA), Iowa City (IA), Laramie (WY),
Cheyenne (WY) and Atlanta (GA). The cheese was sold as: whole 5 pound wheels
in gold wrap; cut pieces in gold wrap; and cut pieces in plastic wrap. The
company name appears on gold wrapped wheels and gold wrapped pieces and
"Colorado Blue", "Bingham Blue" or "Rustic Blue" would appear on
plastic-wrapped pieces. In Colorado, the cheese was distributed to farmers'
markets in Boulder, Fort Collins, Minturn, Dillon, Breckenridge and Colorado
Springs. In Wyoming, the cheese was distributed to farmers' markets in
Laramie and Cheyenne.
Bingham Hill Cheese Company is working closely with the FDA and the Colorado
Department of Public Health and Environment to assure that the cheese in
question is accounted for and destroyed. It is important to the company that
public health remains the primary concern, and Bingham Hill Cheese Company
will continue to put customers' health as the top priority.
The 4-year old artisan cheese company voluntarily conducts random batch
sampling of Rustic Blue as part of its ongoing quality assurance program.
Over 100 batches of Rustic Blue have been tested previously by an
independent Wisconsin cheese laboratory, Silliker Laboratories, and never
found to contain harmful bacteria.
Consumers with questions should feel free to contact cheesemakers/owners
Kristi and Tom Johnson at 1-970-227-8008.