Soft-cheese recall widened after deaths
Soft-cheese recall widened after deaths

Two Australians have died and a pregnant woman has miscarried following a listeria outbreak linked to soft cheeses produced in Victoria.

A recall has been widened of soft cheese manufactured by the Jindi Cheese company after the state's health department said 18 cases of listeria infection had now been linked to the products.

Seven new listeria cases were discovered this week, prompting health department officials to visit the Jindivick factory in Victoria's Gippsland region on Wednesday.

Acting chief health officer Dr Michael Ackland said he was satisfied the appropriate food processing, hygiene and monitoring practices were being followed.

The company voluntarily introduced stricter product testing and quality control measures at the factory from January 7, but is voluntarily recalling all batches of cheese manufactured up to and including January 6.

It follows an earlier recall of brie and camembert cheeses on December 19 after the first cases were identified.

An 84-year-old Victorian man and a 44-year-old Tasmanian man have died of listeria infection while a pregnant NSW woman miscarried.

Of the 18 listeria cases, eight were from Victoria, six from NSW, two from Queensland and one each from Tasmania and Western Australia.

Dr Ackland said it was not surprising the new cases emerged this week because listeria has a 70-day incubation period.

He said it was possible more cases could be identified.

The factory was closed from December 19 to 30 and any new risk from production until January 6 was considered minimal.

Dr Ackland said the processes followed by the factory before up to January 6 were adequate.

"I am satisfied that in combination with the intervention put in place by the first recall and the subsequent recall ...there is no further risk to the public," he told AAP.

"I have confidence that we have safe production now from Jindi."

The cheese products were being recalled from a large number of retail outlets across Australia.

Listeria can come from a number of sources but soft cheeses provide ideal conditions for the bacteria to grow.

Vulnerable people including the elderly, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients, should not eat soft cheeses.

Listeria symptoms are often mild but can become severe in vulnerable patients.

Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, aches and pains.

Dr Ackland said people with Jindi soft cheeses in their fridge related to the recall dates should dispose of them.

If in doubt about whether the cheese is part of the recall, dispose of it anyway, he said.

Fresh batches are expected to be on shelves within days.


  • People wanting a list of recalled products can phone the Jindi Customer Helpline 1800 680 175.

The West Australian

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