Panera Is Recalling Cream Cheese Over Listeria Concerns — Here Are The Varieties It Affects
In an "abundance of caution," Panera announced it is recalling all cream cheese for listeria concerns in a press release on their website on Sunday. (Bustle reached out to Panera for comment, and was referred to their original press release on the recall.)
According to Panera, the recall is preemptive, as there are no reported illnesses; the voluntary recall affects all two ounce and eight ounce cream cheese products sold in U.S. locations. The two ounce varieties affected by the recall include 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; the eight ounce includes 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.
Panera's facilities test for Listeria monocytogenes on all batches of its cream cheese, and reported that its presence was detected in a two ounce cream cheese variety from one day of production.
“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 Panera’s President and CEO Blaine Hurst in Panera's press release. “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 Panera's press release, the recall does not affect Canadian Paneras, nor does it affect any other Panera food products. Below are images, provided by Panera, of both the two ounce and eight ounce sizes of the cream cheeses affected by the recall.
According to the CDC, Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that, when consumed in food product, can result in the infection listeriosis. Approximately 1,600 people per year in the U.S. are affected by listeriosis in the U.S. each year, and the infection is quite severe — approximately 260 patients die. The CDC notes that symptoms of listeriosis include fever and diarrhea, as well as "headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions"; the symptoms usually take one to four weeks to develop after contact, but, in some circumstances, can appear within the day, or within 70 days of exposure.
People the most at risk for listeria poisoning include pregnant women, older people, and people with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women are especially at risk because Listeria poisoning may result in "miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn," according to the CDC. The symptoms often present differently in pregnant women as well, as more flu-like, with more emphasis on fatigue and muscle aches, making it harder to catch.
Although Panera's recall was voluntary and there have been no reported cases of illness, it is understandable that the brand would use an "abundance of caution," as the CDC notes there have been several cases of Listeria outbreaks in the U.S. in the past few years. In 2016, there was a multi-state outbreak linked to a soft raw milk cheese that affected eight people; in 2015, there was another multi-state outbreak linked to soft cheese that affected thirty. Cumulatively, the incidents led to six deaths.
Panera notes that any customers in possession of the recalled products should throw them away immediately, and is offering full refunds. Customers can contact Panera Bread Customer Service at 1-855-6-PANERA between 5 a.m and 10 p.m. CST, Monday through Sunday, or contact customer service online at Panera.custhelp.com. To view Panera's press release regarding the voluntary recall in its entirety, visit their website here.