The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises consumers not to eat goat cheese products manufactured by Apple Tree Goat Dairy of Richfield, Penn. (Apple Tree), because the products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Apple Tree manufactures pasteurized and 60-day aged, semi-soft, and hard goat cheeses under the Apple Tree Goat Dairy brand. The products were sold in Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and New Jersey through Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, West End Farmers Market in Alexandria, Va., Ambler (Penn.) Farmers Market, and Doylestown (Penn.) Farmers Market.
Apple Tree recalled four lots of products manufactured in March and July 2016 on September 20, 2016, after samples of these lots collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Later in September, Apple Tree expanded its recall to include all of its goat cheeses, but FDA is not aware of any public notification to consumers announcing the expanded recall.
FDA has concerns about Apple Tree’s goat cheese based on a recent inspection of the Apple Tree manufacturing facility, which identified a potentially deadly pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes, in the firm’s finished products and its production environment.
Although no illnesses have been reported to date in association with Apple Tree’s goat cheeses, Listeria monocytogenes can cause a serious, potentially life-threatening infection called listeriosis.
Symptoms of listeriosis include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. These symptoms can appear from a few days up to a few weeks after eating contaminated food. Listeriosis primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems.
Consumers who have Apple Tree goat cheeses should throw them away. In addition, the agency advises consumers to thoroughly disinfect the areas where they had the products, such as the refrigerator, plates, and utensils used to serve the cheese.