Whole Foods Market has recalled a ricotta salata cheese sold in 21 states and Washington D.C. due to concerns about Listeria monocytogenes.
The cheese came from the supplier Forever Cheese Inc. in Long Island City, N.Y.
The Whole Foods recall is part of an expanded recall for the imported cheese -- it was sold to retailers and restaurants between Sept. 1 2011 and August 31, 2012. The cheese sold at Whole Foods was sliced and repackaged "with a Whole Foods Market scale label using PLU 293427." Cheeses with a "sell-by" date through Oct. 2 are affected.
The affected cheese was sold in Whole Foods stores throughout the region -- three stores in Washington, D.C., six stores in Maryland, and six stores in Virginia.
So far, 14 illnesses have been reported that may be associated with the recall, though it's not clear whether any were in the Washington metro area.
In the healthy, Listeria infection can cause short-term symptons like fever, headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In children, the elderly, and frail individuals, the infection can be fatal. Listeria infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.
Customers may return the cheese to a Whole Foods Market store for a full refund, and call with questions 512-542-0060 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Standard Time.