For the first time in its 110-year history, the World Cheese Company, producer of Haolam and Miller’s kosher cheese products, has issued a voluntary recall of some shredded cheese.
The recall comes after a packaging facility in Wisconsin that handles the shredding and packaging, not the production, of some of Miller’s shredded products also packaged a different company’s cheese that was found to contain the deadly bacteria listeria monocytogenes.
Kosher products packaged in the same plant all tested negative for the bacteria.
According to World Cheese, the state of Wisconsin requested the voluntary recall of all the products shredded in the plant following the discovery of the bacteria.
The recalled cheeses are all eight-ounce and 16-ounce bags of Haolam and Miller’s shredded cheese (pizza, mozzarella, cheddar, fancy, muenster, R/F muinster, R/F cheddar) with an expiration of June 5, 2012, through Sept. 4, 2012; all 32-ounce bags of Haolam shredded mozzarella and gourmet blend and Miller’s shredded mozzarella with an expiration date of Feb. 6, 2012, through May 7, 2012; all five-pound bags of Haolam and Miller’s shredded mozzarella, cheddar, muenster and Monterey Jack with a package date of Sept. 8, 2011, through Dec. 7, 2011.
A company news release said that there was no health danger to people who consumed the listed products. “Despite the fact that the products that we are being instructed to voluntarily recall, after having been tested, were found to be negative for the listeria monocytogenes, Haolam is complying with the state of Wisconsin’s voluntary recall and removing all of the products from store shelves.”
The release said the recall is not a kashrut issue.
In Montreal, a similar voluntary recall alert for the Haolam and Miller’s shredded cheeses was issued Jan. 4 in a communiqué from the Jewish Community Council of Montreal (Vaad Ha’ir), the community’s principal kosher certification body.
The Metro grocery store in Snowdon is issuing full refunds, with or without proof of purchase, as long as the product is brought in, said Shmuel Kardash, assistant manager of the store's kosher department. “We found mould in five of 12 packages,” he added.
At the IGA grocery store in Cote St. Luc's Quartier Cavendish (formerly Cavendish Mall), which has the largest kosher department in the city, suppliers removed the shredded cheeses from dairy cases even before they went on sale, said Jean-Marc Beaudet, manager of the dairy department. “The store is empty of the product,” he said.
In the Greater Toronto Area, Jennifer Bland, who works in file maintenance at Sobey’s in the Spring Farm Plaza, Thornhill, said the store does carry the affected cheeses, and it has all been pulled from shelves.
Anyone who has the cheese at home can bring it in for a refund, she said.
World Cheese said that fresh cheese will be in stores shortly, and is being produced in a new shredding and packaging facility “where we have exclusive control over the cheese that is brought into the facility.”
With files from Carolyn Blackman and David Lazarus