Panera Bread has recalled all of its cream cheese products earlier today after concerns that they may be contaminated with listeria. According to USA Today, no illnesses have been reported yet, but the bakery-cafe chain decided to take precaution after some samples of cream cheese tested positive for the infectious bacterium.
Listeria causes listeriosis, a serious infection that is potentially fatal. It mostly affects pregnant women, newborns, adults over the age of 65, and anyone with a weaker immune system, according to the U.S. Center for Disease control. Approximately 1,600 Americans contract listeriosis each year, and 260 of those people die.
The most recent listeria-related recall prior to this was for soft cheese produced by Vulto Creamery. According to the FDA, Vulto found in March 2017 that large batches of its soft, wash-rind raw milk cheese was contaminated with listeria. Such a contamination is reportedly common, since listeria can grow in colder conditions than most other infectious bacteria. This means that refrigerated cheeses and milks are especially susceptible to listeria.
In accordance with FDA regulations, dairy producers regularly check for the presence of listeria, so no need to worry.
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