August 27, 2007
press release from the Ga. Dept. of Agriculture
Atlanta -- Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin announced today that Georgia Department of Agriculture food scientists have found Listeria monocytogenes in a sample of Ricotta Salata cheese collected as part of the department's food safety program.
The contamination was found in a package marked SELL BY 01/21/08. The brand name of the cheese is Locatelli and the importer is The Ambriola Company, Inc., of Jersey City, New Jersey 07305. The cheese is imported from Italy.
Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially serious disease. The most common manifestation of listeriosis is meningitis, which has symptoms of high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea.
Listeriosis can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections to infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems such as persons with chronic diseases or taking chemotherapy for cancer.
"We have notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of today's lab findings, and we are warning the public about the contamination," said Commissioner Irvin. "We discovered this contamination as part of our sampling program.
Sampling food products on a regular basis with a scientific protocol is a very important part of the Georgia Department of Agriculture's efforts to ensure food safety."