Three people have died and at least eleven others are hospitalized after eating ricotta salata cheese that is contaminated with listeria bacteria. The cheese was recalled on September 10 by Forever Cheese Inc. It was sold in California, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington between June 20 and Aug. 9.
The recall affects lot number T9425 and/or production code 441202. The cheese was sold to grocery stores, supermarkets, restaurants, and wholesale distributors. It is a crumbly, solid cheese and is not the same as ricotta cheese which is sold in plastic tubs.
If you have the cheese, throw it away in a sealed plastic bag into a sealed trash can and use hot water and soap to wash areas of your refrigerator where the cheese was stored as the bacteria can grow and multiply in the refrigerator. Be sure to also clean all cutting boards, utensils, and surfaces that came into contact with the cheese.
Listeriosis usually begins with diarrhea or other intestinal symptoms. People with listeriosis then develop fever and muscle aches. Possible other symptoms include headache, stiff neck, mental confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions.