By Daisy Luther
You probably saw the article last week about the massive recall of Sargento products. As it turns out, the Sargento products are only a drop in the bucket – there are 130 more products out there and the FDA is under a gag order not to name them, according to the website Food Safety News.
Sargento added more products to the list on Feb. 17. (You can find them below.) I think that they should be applauded for being the most open about the potential listeria contamination in their products.
Unfortunately, there are many more products out there that have been recalled for potential contamination, but we have no idea what they are. That’s because there is a clause in the federal code that prohibits the FDA from telling us which companies purchased cheese to be branded under their labels from the plant that has been affected with listeria. According to this clause, the names of those companies would be considered “confidential corporate information.”
The plant, Deutsch Kase Haus LLC, is based in Middleburg, Tennessee.
Food Safety News has tracked down some of the products that may be affected. This recall applies only to cheese, so other products from these companies are unlikely to be tainted.
I’ll only list the brands here:
- Sara Lee
- Dutch Valley
- Biery Cheese Co.
- MDS (a distributor of pre-made sandwiches and deli salads)
Some store brands are also affected, and included in the recall could be prepared foods from the deli that contain the tainted cheeses:
Source: Food Safety News
I’m disgusted – but not surprised – by the fact that a federal code protects the corporations instead of the consumers.
My advice? Only buy cheese from local sources until this has all been straightened out. DO NOT purchase the corporate cheese products because, with this gag order, you have no idea if they are safe or not. Consider throwing out products you have on hand or calling the manufacturer to see if the recall applies to them.
Here is the information about the Sargento recall from my previous article:
EDIT: The recall list has been updated to include these additional products:
- Sargento Sliced Colby
- Sargento Sliced Muenster
- Sargento Sliced Tomato & Basil Jack
- Sargento Shredded Reduced Fat Colby-Jack
- Sargento Sliced Colby-Jack Cheese
- Sargento Shredded Chef Blends 4 Cheese Pizzeria
- Artisan Blends Double Cheddar Shredded Cheese
- Ultra Thin Sliced Longhorn Colby
- Chef Blends Shredded Nacho & Taco
- Chef Blends Shredded Taco
Sargento has issued a massive recall on cheese due to possible contamination with listeria.
The affected products are:
- Sargento Sliced Pepper Jack Cheese
- Sargento Chef Blends Shredded Taco Cheese
- Sargento Off The Block Shredded Fine Cut Colby-Jack Cheese
- Sargento Off The Block Shredded Fine Cut Cheddar Jack Cheese
Listeria is a potentially deadly form of food poisoning that has become all-too-common in processed foods lately.
The Food Poison Journal says:
Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria) is a foodborne disease-causing bacteria; the disease is called listeriosis. Listeria can invade the body through a normal and intact gastrointestinal tract. Once in the body, Listeria can travel through the blood stream but the bacteria are often found inside cells. Listeria also produces toxins that damage cells. Listeria invades and grows best in the central nervous system among immune compromised persons, causing meningitis and/or encephalitis (brain infection). In pregnant women, the fetus can become infected, leading to spontaneous abortion, stillbirths, or sepsis (blood infection) in infancy.
Here’s the press release issued by the FDA:
Deutsch Kase Haus, LLC of Middlebury, Ind. has notified Sargento Foods Inc. that a specialty Longhorn Colby cheese they supplied to Sargento must be recalled due to a potential contamination of Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported.
The affected retail products are Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Longhorn Colby, 6.84 oz., UPC 4610000228, with “Sell By” dates of “12APR17B” and “10MAY17B” and Sargento Chef Blends Shredded Nacho & Taco Cheese, 8 oz., UPC 4610040041, with “Sell By” dates of “H14JUN17” and “H12JUL17.” These products were packaged at the Sargento Plymouth, Wis. facility.
Out of an abundance of caution, Sargento is also recalling the following products because they were packaged on the same line as the affected cheese:
- Sargento Sliced Colby-Jack Cheese, 12 oz., UPC 4610000109 with “Sell By” date of “11JUN17B”
- Sargento Sliced Pepper Jack Cheese, 12 oz., UPC 4610000108 with “Sell By” dates of “12JUN17B”, “09JUL17B” and “10JUL17B”
- Sargento Chef Blends Shredded Taco Cheese, 8 oz., UPC 4610040002 with “Sell By” dates of “H14JUN17”, “F28JUN17” and “D28JUN17”
- Sargento Off The Block Shredded Fine Cut Colby-Jack Cheese, 8 oz., UPC 4610040014 with “Sell By” date of “F05JUL17”
- Sargento Off The Block Shredded Fine Cut Cheddar Jack Cheese, 8 oz., UPC 4610040076 with “Sell By” date of “F05JUL17”
No other Sargento branded products are affected by this recall.
Consumers can check if their product is affected by the recall by visiting info.sargento.com and using the “Product Check” tool. This webpage will be updated with the latest information about the recall. Consumers can also call Sargento Consumer Affairs at 1-800-243-3737 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. (Central Time), or submit questions to the “Contact Us” page at sargento.com.
Our unwavering commitment to safety is at the core of everything we do at Sargento. We are vigilantly monitoring this issue to ensure the situation is resolved in a timely manner, and are working in full cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration to rigorously investigate this issue.
Thank you for the update. I did not realize the recall was so extensive.
It is HORRIBLE that the FDA is not telling us all the products that are involved.
I thought it was their JOB to inform us of tainted food.
Thanks for the warning. I shop at one of those stores you mentioned, and often buy their shredded taco/nacho cheese, under their corporate brand. Will be tossing it, and warning friends and neighbors. In this small town there are only two grocery stores, Wallie World and the one I use, which is one named. Have seen no mention of this locally at all. I am sure I bought one or two bags of the taco/nacho cheese products possibly affected just three weeks ago when I last shopped there. In the garbage as soon as I get off here. Even if those products are not contaminated, it is better to throw away a few dollars worth of possibly contaminated food than to take a chance on getting that sick or possibly dying.
I’m thinking maybe it would be best to buy a block cheese and slice myself. I always grate my own as well. Seems all the ones affected have been processed to sliced or shredded. If I read that right.
Yes – I noticed that too. Makes me very nervous to experiment though!
Sadly just learned that they do same thing with dog food corporations. Was just a huge recall on a brand whose plant produces other brands. But that info cannot be given out. You would think that it would be about keeping people and pets safe. Not so.
Why does America even have an organization that purports to exist to “Protect” the people from bad food and drugs? I guess the people have to come to the realization that it is YOU who must figure out for yourselves just what you put into your bodies because the FDA only cares about protecting the US CORPORATION!
I don’t think it is horrible. It’s realty and realty says that we are the United States of Money. Follow the money, always.
Get yoself prepped up cause Uncle Sam is all about the money. – Peace kw
I heard that shredded cheese is covered or sprayed with a chemical. They said to shred it yourself. I am a vegan now. I can’t tolerate dairy. I break out and get a stomach ache when I eat it. I don’t trust the FDA. They are pawns of the pharmaceutical and big agriculture. It is hard to eat healthy with the way they grow, spray, poison us.
Last night we had pizza for supper and I noticed a bag of Sargento off the block chedder cheese on the kitchen table, my brother told me about the recall but looking closer at the bag I noticed more than half the bag was gone and some of it was on the pizza we were about to eat.
No bad effects, its been more than 12 hours now since I ate and I feel fine.
My understanding is that, of date, there have been no reported instances of people getting sick from any of these products. This has been a voluntary recall, as the contamination was discovered in one or more of their products, and the company decided out of an abundance of caution, to recall the possibly contaminated products before anyone got sick, if they might get sick. The possible illness from that listeria is bad enough that the company made the decision to make the recall, even though no one had yet gotten sick, which you have to admire them for. You have to imagine that thousands of people have probably eaten these products without getting sick. And some might have gotten sick but had healthy enough immune systems not to even notice they were sick. It is apparently the elderly, the very young and those with compromised immune systems who can get deathly ill and or die from this, and those are the people the company is specially looking out for (and wishing to avoid lawsuits over). The fact that individual ate some of the possibly contaminated product without getting ill does not mean the product is OK, it could just as well mean their immune system is not compromised enough for them to have gotten ill. I would still discard those products unless you are willing to play Russian Roulette with your food.