Panera Bread has issued a national recall of cream cheese products from its bakery-cafes amid concern of potential listeria contamination.
Although no illnesses have been reported, the St. Louis-based chain said Sunday it issued the recall “out of an abundance of caution” after samples of one variety of two-ounce cream cheese from a single production day showed a positive result for the presence of listeria.
Tests on cream cheese samples manufactured before and after the production run in question all showed no traces of listeria, the company said.
Listeriosis is a serious infection typically caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, the contaminant found in the single Panera testing.
An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The infection is most likely to cause sickness in pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems, the CDC reported.
From Panera’s website:
While there have been no reported illnesses, out of an abundance of caution, Panera Bread is conducting a nationwide preemptive, voluntary recall of all 2 oz. and 8 oz. cream cheese products sold in its U.S. bakery-cafes. This recall was initiated after samples of one variety of 2 oz. cream cheese from a single production day showed a positive result for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes. Tests on cream cheese samples manufactured both before and after the production run in question have all come back negative.
Despite the finding in only one day of production, Panera Bread is issuing a voluntary recall of all varieties of the 2 oz. and 8 oz. cream cheese. The products included in the recall are all varieties (see below) of unexpired 2 oz. and 8 oz. cream cheese products with an expiration date on or before 4/2/18. This recall only affects cream cheese sold in Panera Bread United States bakery cafes and does not affect Panera Bread Canadian bakery cafes or any other Panera Bread food products.
“The safety of our guests and associates is paramount, therefore we are recalling all cream cheese products sold in the US with an active shelf life. We have likewise ceased all manufacturing in the associated cream cheese facility,” said Blaine Hurst, Panera’s President and CEO. “Only one variety of 2-oz cream cheese from a single day yielded the positive result. Our intent is to go above and beyond for our guests. You should expect nothing less from Panera.”
According to the FDA, Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
Affected 2 oz. Cream Cheese Varieties: Plain Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Plain Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Chive & Onion Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Honey Walnut Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Wild Blueberry Cream Cheese.