Whole Foods recalls cheese in Mass. after finding potentially deadly contamination

A Whole Foods Market in Upper Saint Clair, Pa.
Gene J. Puskar/AP/File
A Whole Foods Market in Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Whole Foods stores in Massachusetts and other Northeast states are recalling Dorset cheese after its producer said it could be contaminated with potentially fatal bacteria, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA said in a Monday website post that the grocery chain was voluntarily recalling the cheese because of a potential contamination of Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, elderly people, pregnant women, and others with weakened immune systems.

Healthy people who contract the bacteria would probably suffer short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, FDA officials said. However, an infection in pregnant women could cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and fetal infection.


It’s rare for healthy adults to get sick with a Listeria infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

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The cheese being recalled was sold at Whole Foods stores in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, FDA officials said. It was cut and wrapped in plastic with a Whole Foods Market scale label, is identifiable by PLU code 97776, and has sell-by dates through Oct. 30, 2019, according to the FDA.

No illnesses had been reported as of the FDA’s post.

Customers who purchased the affected product at Whole Foods can bring a valid receipt into stores for a full refund.

The FDA posted an example of a label of the affected cheese:

Food and Drug Administration

The Whole Foods recall comes after the cheese’s producer, Consider Bardwell Farm of Vermont, issued a recall for all of its Dorset, Slyboro, and Experience cheese “out of an abundance of caution.” The cheeses it issued recalls for were sold between July 8 and Sept. 23, the farm said online.

According to the farm’s recall notice, the contamination was discovered by routine testing of the finished products and the manufacturing environment.

The farm says its Dorset cheese is made of raw cow’s milk and washed rind, and is aged for 60 days.

“A soft ripening cheese with a rich, buttery texture and seasonally influenced pungency. An elegant appetizer or dessert, often served here in the historic village of Dorset, VT. Try Dorset with: Honey, apples, and a bubbly wine,” the farm says on its website.