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May 4, 2001

Health Officials Warn Consumers Not To Consume Fresh Italian-Style Cheeses Made by Liuzzi Cheese Co.

Hartford, CT (SafetyAlerts) - The Connecticut Departments of Public Health (DPH) and Agriculture have issued advisory regarding cheeses produced by Liuzzi Cheese Company in North Haven, Connecticut. Epidemiologic investigation has linked at least 12 of 15 cases of a particular strain of Salmonella bacteria  to consumption of any of 3 different types of cheese produced by the store since approximately 20 Mar 2001: basket cheese, ricotta cheese,and mozzarella cheese. All were made with unpasteurized milk.

These cheeses have been widely distributed in Connecticut and neighboring states and were sold with a Liuzzi label in food stores and delicatessens.

Salmonella bacteria usually cause self-limited diarrhea. However, some people can get high fevers and become dehydrated. The illness can then become life-threatening if not treated, particularly in persons in high-risk groups such as infants, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals. Of the 15 cases reported to date, 7 have been hospitalized for treatment.

The Connecticut Departments of Public Health and Agriculture recommend the following:

  • Consumers who bought any of these fresh cheese products with the Liuzzi label since at least 20 Mar 2001 or later are advised NOT to eat it.  Rather, they should call the Department of Public Health (860-509-7994) to report that they still have some of the cheese left.

  • Persons who have already consumed the potentially contaminated cheese made with raw milk and who do not have any symptoms do not need any special medical evaluation or treatment, even if they are in high risk groups.

  • Persons who have consumed the cheese and who become ill within 7 days with fever and/or diarrhea should inform their physicians about this exposure and ask to be cultured for Salmonella and call the state Department of Public Health (860-509-7994).

The producer and the Department of Consumer Protection are working with distributors to remove all unsold implicated cheese from store shelves. Additionally, the producer has ceased production of cheese until further investigation has been completed.

Although it is unknown exactly how the cheese may have become contaminated, it was made with unpasteurized milk, which may be contaminated with bacteria carried by cows. Unless it is pasteurized, milk may contain Salmonella and other pathogenic organisms. Federal regulations require that fresh cheese be made with pasteurized milk or that the processing include a formal pasteurization step.

Persons who have questions about the distribution of basket, ricotta, or mozzarella cheese from the Liuzzi Cheese Company should call the Department of Agriculture at (860)713-2508, Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Notice of this product warning was sent via email to SafetyAlerts subscribers May 4, 2001.  For more information regarding the SafetyAlerts free email alert service please click here.

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The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that the Company believes to be reliable, however, the Company has not independently verified or confirmed the information and the recipient acknowledges that no representations or warranties are being made in connection with the use of the information.