Five more brands of cheese are under nationwide recall, this time by Ohio distributor MDS Foods Inc., because of Listeria monocytogenes found in finished cheese made by Deutsch Kase Haus LLC.Although the MDS Foods recall is dated Feb. 11, it was not available on the Food and Drug Administration website until Monday afternoon. It is one of a string of cheese and salad recalls initiated since Feb. 9 when the Tennessee Department of Agriculture reported it had found Listeria through a routine random sampling program of cheese collected from a retail store.No illnesses have been confirmed in connection to consumption of the recalled cheeses, but it can take up to 70 days for symptoms of Listeria infections to develop. Because of the relatively long shelf life of the products, officials are urging consumers to check their homes for the recalled cheese.The MDS Foods recall includes two brands that were named in the Feb. 9 Tennessee agriculture department warning:

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  • Amish Classics; and
  • Meijer.

The five other brands under recall by MDS Foods are:

  • Deli Readi;
  • Deli Made EZ;
  • Lipari Old Tyme;
  • Duck Deli; and
  • Old Tyme.

“Customers who have purchased any of the cheese products listed below from the affected sell by dates or any unreadable date codes are urged not to consume it and to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled cheeses — Sargento, Sara Lee and Meijer brands as well as certain H-E-B and Signature Cafe salads from Tawhich includes ylor Farms —  should monitor themselves for symptoms and seek medical attention if they develop. Patients should be sure to tell their doctors of suspected Listeria exposure so the proper diagnostic tests can be performed.


The pathogen investigation

“MDS Foods Inc. has also recalled potentially affected products that were packaged on the same production lines in our Tullahoma, TN, Facility as the affected product.

Tennessee inspectors from the Department of Agriculture discovered Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in Amish Classic brand cheese produced by Deutsch Käse Haus in random samples they collected from a grocery store on Jan. 30 in Trenton, TN.

On Thursday, Feb. 9, the Tennessee department posted an alert announcing a recall of Amish Classic cheeses and Meijer branded cheeses, all made by Deutsch Käse Haus.
A day later Taylor Farms of Salinas, CA, announced a recall of more than three tons of chicken salad and pork salad products packaged under the Signature Cafe and H-E-B brands because they include cheese recalled by Sargento.The following day, Sargento Foods Inc. announced a recall of seven of its branded sliced and shredded cheese products made by Deutsch Käse Haus.

As of Monday evening it was unknown if other food companies had received the recalled cheese from Deutsch Käse Haus.

Although the Food and Drug Administration is investigating the situation, the agency is banned from revealing customer lists because they are considered “confidential corporate information.”

Deutsch Kase Haus had Listeria problems before

The Tennessee food inspectors were not the first to find Listeria in connection with the Deutsch Käse Haus production operation.

In September and October 2009, inspectors with the Food and Drug Administration observed problems at the facility including illegal labeling and improper maintenance and sanitization, according to an archived FDA warning letter. On Sept. 14 and 15, 2009, inspectors collected swabs from environmental surfaces at the Middlebury, IN, cheese plant.

Of 25 environmental surface swabs tested, 12 percent — three swabs — were positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

The plant owner at the time — Guggisberg Cheese Inc. — was given the standard 15 working days to respond to the FDA warning letter. Four years later the FDA issued a closeout letter indicating Deutsch Käse Haus had “addressed the violation(s)”

“Future FDA inspections and regulatory activities will further assess the adequacy and sustainability of these corrections,” November 2013 closeout letter states.

In November 2016, the Michigan Milk Producers Association bought Deutsch Käse Haus from Guggisberg Cheese Inc. The Deutsch Käse Haus location in Middlebury, IN, processes about 400,000 pounds of milk a day, according to the association website. The plant mainly produces colby cheese, in addition to colby-jack, monterey-jack, cheddar, pepper-jack cheese and other flavors.