Food safety watchdogs issue warning over contaminated cheese; Brit dies amid listeria outbreak
By Zoey Sky // Apr 03, 2023

Reports have confirmed that one British consumer died from listeria amid an outbreak linked to contaminated Baronet cheese.

Food safety watchdogs recently issued a warning over the potential risk posed by certain Baronet semi-soft cheeses, which they said contained "exceptionally high levels" of the bacteria.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advised consumers not to eat the affected products, all of which are made by Wiltshire-based firm The Old Cheese Room.

Baronet is a pasteurized semi-soft cheese with a pinkish-orange rind and pungent aroma. The cheese is sold in both small individual rounds and in one-kilogram wheels that can be cut down to order.

The cheeses can also be served sliced from a deli counter.

Baronet cheese recalled due to listeria contamination

According to reports, one recall is for the one-kg Baronet, priced at £32 ($39.50) and with best-before dates of March 21, March 22, April 11, April 12, April 16 and April 18, 2023.

The other two recalls are for the 270-gram Mini Baronet, costing £9 ($11.11) and the 200-g Baby Baronet.

The Mini Baronet is also being recalled for three batches: March 22, April 10 and April 18, 2023. The Baby Baronet is being recalled for the following batches: March 22, April 4, April 10 and April 16, 2023.

British shoppers who think they may have bought one of the affected Baronet items have been urged not to consume the product and to contact their retailer. Additionally, shoppers were warmed to thoroughly clean any surfaces they may have touched to prevent cross-contamination with other foods.

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In the announcement, the FSA and UKHSA warned that they had found three listeria cases "potentially linked to an outbreak" and that one individual had died.

The agencies did not provide any further details of the recorded death. (Related: CDC: Listeria outbreak linked to deli meat and cheese kills 1, infects 16.)

According to data, all infected patients had a closely genetically-related strain of listeria that was also found in samples of Baronet cheese. But that does mean that all the reported cases linked to the outbreak contracted listeriosis after consuming Baronet cheese.

What is listeriosis?

Listeriosis is a foodborne disease caused by Listeria monocytogenes. People develop an infection called listeriosis after eating food containing listeria.

Listeriosis may cause the following symptoms:

  • Aches and pains
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions, or muscle contractions that you can’t control
  • Diarrhea
  • A fever
  • Headache
  • Loss of balance
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Sickness
  • Upset stomach

Listeriosis can go away on its own, but it can be serious among these groups:

  • Newborn babies
  • Pregnant women
  • Adult over 65s
  • People with diabetes
  • People with a weak immune system

If you suspect that you are experiencing listeriosis symptoms, report your illness to the local authority.

Tina Potter, head of incidents at the FSA, said those with "elderly relatives who may have purchased the recalled items, and who are at particular risk," should be aware of the recall and observe the advice.

Potter noted that certain foods carry a greater risk of listeria than others, such as pate, soft cheeses, smoked fish, chilled sliced meats and other chilled ready-to-eat products.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that at least 1,600 individuals get listeriosis annually.

The Old Cheese Room claimed that the product recall was only a "precautionary measure" despite the confirmed death. The company also told shoppers to contact them "for a full refund (with or without a receipt)."

The cheesemaker also announced that it has stopped making Baronet cheese until they "have found the source of the issue."

Tips for preventing listeriosis

You can get listeriosis from eating contaminated foods.

The listeriosis incubation period, or the time when you first get infected and when you first experience symptoms, may vary. Usually, it takes one to two weeks, but it can be as short as several days or as long as three months.

The following foods may contain listeria:

  • Deli meats
  • Fresh fruits, especially melons
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Hot dogs
  • Unpasteurized dairy products

These foods have the highest risk of L. monocytogenes contamination, but listeriosis can affect almost any improperly handled or prepared foods.

L. monocytogenes is unique from other foodborne illnesses since it survives and even multiplies in low temperatures, including refrigerators and freezers.

Food that has spoiled breaks down and develops an unpleasant odor, taste or change in texture. But when L. monocytogenes bacteria contaminate food, the smell, taste and texture remain the same.

Follow the tips below to reduce your risk of getting listeriosis:

  • Wash your hands and any food surfaces thoroughly before and after cooking.
  • Use a scrub brush, clean running water and an organic fruit and vegetable wash to clean raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Always cook deli meats, egg dishes, hot dogs and seafood to an internal temperature of 165 F (74 C). If you can't do so, avoid these foods.
  • Heat leftovers until they are steaming hot. Don't eat leftovers that are several days old.
  • Wrap food in plastic wrap or foil, or place it in plastic bags or clean, covered containers before refrigerating them. Make sure foods like raw meat don't leak juices onto other foods.
  • Properly clean up any spills in your refrigerator, especially meat juices.

Prepare food properly and avoid products that have been linked to listeria outbreaks to avoid listeriosis.

Visit for more articles about other contaminated food products that you should avoid.

Watch the video below to know more about glyphosate in cereal.

This video is from the TKWK T.V channel on

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