Investigation Details

Posted November 10, 2022

November 10, 2022

Public Health Actions

An updated list of stores that received recalled bulk brie and camembert cheese was added to Old Europe Cheese, Inc’s recall notice. More than 700 stores in 38 states received bulk cheese, and these stores likely repacked and sold them under other brand names before the cheese was recalled. These cheeses are likely no longer available in stores or in people’s homes.

CDC is advising people not to eat, sell, or serve recalled cheese.

Previous Updates

Public Health Actions

On October 28, 2022, Old Europe Cheese, Inc. added a list of stores that received recalled bulk brie and camembert cheese that may be repacked and sold under other brand names.

CDC is advising people not to eat, sell, or serve recalled cheese.

Public Health Actions

On October 4, 2022, Swiss American recalled St Louis brand brie cheese made by Old Europe Cheese, Inc.

On October 5, 2022, Old Europe Cheese, Inc. expanded their recall to include baked brie cheese.

CDC is advising people not to eat, sell, or serve recalled cheese.

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are collecting different types of data to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory data show that cheese made by Old Europe Cheese, Inc. may be contaminated with Listeria and may be making people sick.

Epidemiologic and Traceback Data

As of September 28, 2022, six people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from six states (see map). Sick people’s samples were collected from August 6, 2017, to August 5, 2022 (see timeline).

Sick people range in age from 56 to 83 years, with a median age of 78, and 67% are female. Five people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because some people recover without medical care and are not tested for Listeria. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the month before they got sick. Of the five people interviewed, four (80%) reported eating brie or camembert cheese. Most people did not remember the brand of the cheese they ate, but one person reported eating Lidl Premium Brand Brie. Old Europe Cheese is the only manufacturer of Lidl Premium Brand Brie.

Laboratory Data

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS).

WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

FDA, with assistance from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, inspected the Old Europe Cheese facility in Michigan and collected samples for testing. WGS showed that the Listeria found in the cooling room is closely related genetically to Listeria from sick people’s samples. This provides more evidence that people likely got sick from eating cheese made by Old Europe Cheese.

Public Health Actions

On September 30, 2022, Old Europe Cheese, Inc. recalled their brie and camembert cheese. The company has also temporarily stopped producing these cheeses.

CDC is advising people not to eat, sell, or serve recalled cheese.