The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said goat cheese manufactured by Apple Tree Goat Dairy of Richfield, Pennsylvania (Apple Tree) could be contaminated with L. monocytogenes.
However, no illnesses have been reported in association with the cheeses.
The firm manufactures pasteurized and 60-day aged, semi-soft and hard goat cheeses under the Apple Tree Goat Dairy brand
Products were sold in Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey through Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, West End Farmers Market in Alexandria and Ambler Farmers Market and Doylestown (Pennsylvania) Farmers Markets.
L. mono positive sampling
FDA inspected Apple Tree’s manufacturing facility in Richfield, Pennsylvania in September finding poor sanitation practices.
The agency identified L. monocytogenes in 18 environmental samples from processing, packaging, and storage areas, including food-contact surfaces such as a cheese slicer, cheese mold, tables and plates used to hold cheese before packaging.
FDA also found two of the finished goat cheeses tested positive for the pathogen.
Apple Tree recalled four lots of products manufactured in March and July 2016 in September, after samples collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) tested positive for L. monocytogenes.
Feta cheese aged 60 days lot #836, Gouda Cheese aged 60 days lot #426, Pasteurized chevre lot #816, in 5 lb. or 8 oz. and French Herb Chevre lot #736 in 8 oz. or 5 lb were affected.
The Chevre lot #816 was in 8 oz. shrink wrapped bags, French herb chevre was packaged in a shrink bag. Both Chevre may also have been in 5 lb. plastic tubs.
The Feta with expiration 12/16 and Gouda was a square block 8oz package or a 5 lb block, also shrink wrapped.
Later in September, Apple Tree expanded its recall to include all goat cheeses but FDA said it was not aware of any public notification to consumers.
FDA advised retailers and restaurants not to serve or sell any Apple Tree goat cheeses and to dispose of them. If they do not know the source of them, they should check with their distributor or Apple Tree.
Listeria can grow at refrigeration temperatures in foods and can cross-contaminate other food cut and served on the same cutting board or stored in the same area.