Forever Cheese recalled its Ricotta Salata Frescolina brand cheese for Listeria monocytogenes contamination on September 11, 2012. The company initiated the recall after public health officials in 12 states determined it to be the source of a Listeria outbreak that had resulted in at least 15 Listeria cases and 3 deaths.
By October 26, 2012, the number of Listeria cases associated with the ricotta salata cheese had grown to 24. One additional death was reported in October, bringing the count to 4 deaths associated with Listeria infections contracted from the ricotta salata cheese.
The CDC reported that 9 Listeria cases were related to pregnancy; 3 Listeria infections were diagnosed in newborns.
Forever Cheese, a New York-based company, had imported the ricotta cheese from Italy and distributed it to retailers and restaurants in several states. Ricotta cheese subject to recall for Listeria contamination included all Ricotta Salata Frescolina brand cheese distributed by Forever Cheese, with a lot # T9425 and/or production code 441202.
Listeria-contaminated cheese was distributed by Forever Cheese to distributors, retailers and restaurants nationwide. Whole Foods and Peterson Company initiated recalls of Ricotta Salata Frescolina after learning they had received the Listeria-contaminated cheese.
Listeria cases associated with the consumption of the ricotta cheese were reported in the following states: California (3), Colorado (1), District of Columbia (1), Maryland (3), Minnesota (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (2), Virginia (3), and Washington (1).
Seattle-based Marler Clark has filed two lawsuits against victims of the Forever Cheese ricotta salata Listeria outbreak. The first Listeria lawsuit was filed against Forever Cheese and Peterson Company, a Washington state cheese distributor, on September 24, 2012. The second Listeria lawsuit was filed against forever Cheese, The Aniata Cheese Co. and Cookbook Los Angeles on behalf of a California couple whose infant son was born prematurely as a result of his mother’s Listeria infection. He died nearly 3 weeks after his birth.