UK Supermarket Issues Recall Of Cheese Products Due To Disease Fears

Two UK supermarkets have now recalled their Taleggio cheese products due to potential listeria contamination


3 Minutes Read

Photo shows the dairy aisle of a supermarket complete with several different varieties of cheese Two UK supermarkets are now recalling specific cheese products - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

Two different British supermarkets have recalled their respective Taleggio products – a creamy, semi-soft Italian cheese – over the possibility of listeria contamination.

Read more: Several Meat Products Are Being Urgently Recalled By Supermarkets – Here’s Why

Morrisons has extended the initial recall of its “The Best Taleggio” product from packages with a best before of April 14, 2024, to include dates up to and including April 28. Meanwhile, Asda has recalled all of its “Extra Special Taleggio” featuring a best before April 14, 2024. Shoppers are being told to return the products for a refund.

Each supermarket recalled its product after discovering Listeria monocytogenes. However, it is currently unclear whether the two companies share a supplier, which could potentially mean further recalls from other stores and distributors in the weeks to come.

Listeria is a strain of bacteria with at least 28 different species, and ingesting the microscopic life forms can cause flu-like symptoms including a high temperature, aches and pains, chills, sickness, and diarrhoea. According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), rarer cases of listeriosis can sometimes cause severe infection, resulting in complications like meningitis.

Babies under one month old, adults over 65, pregnant people, and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of serious complications after consuming listeria.

Read more: Video Claiming Raw Milk Heals Lactose Intolerance Flagged As ‘False Information’

Animal products are the main source of listeria contamination

Photo shows a woman's arm and part of her torso as she gestures to a particular piece of cheese at a supermarket dairy counter
Adobe Stock Soft cheeses are particularly prone to listeria contamination, and therefore supermarket recall

Overall, the number of food recalls is increasing across the food industry. While some see this as cause for concern, others suggest that more recalls represent improved safety measures and increased accountability from producers and distributors alike.

Chilled animal products such as cooked or cured meat and cheese products are particularly prone to listeria contamination. In March 2023, the FSA linked three different cases of listeriosis – including one death – to a semi-soft dairy cheese similar to Taleggio.

Because of their high moisture, low salt content, and low acidity, listeria can contaminate soft and semi-soft cheeses more easily than other varieties. (Listeria itself typically originates either in the raw ingredients or in the processing environment.)

“Food-producing animals are the major reservoirs for many foodborne pathogens such as Campylobacter species, non-Typhi serotypes of Salmonella enterica, Shiga toxin-producing strains of Escherichia coli, and Listeria monocytogenes,” reads one 2018 study.

Read more: The Media Issued A ‘Warning’ To Pregnant Vegans – Is There Cause For Concern?

Some studies indicate that adopting a plant-based diet can significantly reduce the risk of “various virus-causing diseases,” while others show that avoiding traditional meat can lower your chances of getting straightforward food poisoning. However, more research is needed.

More generally, intensive animal agriculture causes the proliferation of many infectious diseases, while some studies link the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to antibiotic resistance and “superbugs,” with the potential to kill thousands of people over the coming years.

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