The latest Listeria outbreak to hit the U.S. is being attributed to cheese. California cheesemaker Karoun Dairies has halted production and issued a voluntary recall after several of their soft cheese products "were linked to 24 illnesses around the country and a death in Ohio," reports the Associated Press.
The CDC says that "almost two-thirds of those who became ill are of are of Middle Eastern or Eastern European descent or shopped at Middle Eastern-style markets." Most people who fell ill said they ate Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Mediterranean, or Mexican-style cheeses sold under the brand names Karoun, Arz, Gopi, Queso Del Valle, Central Valley Creamery, or Yanni. The cheese has been linked to illnesses going all the way back to 2010, although Karoun says none of its products have tested positive for Listeria thus far.
News of this new Listeria outbreak comes just on the heels of the FDA's announcement that it's introducing stricter guidelines intended to push food manufacturers to take a more proactive approach to preventing foodborne illness. The new guidelines will hopefully prevent catastrophes like the recent Blue Bell listeria crisis that resulted in three deaths. And if a food analytics startup called Clear Labs has it their way, listeria-related illnesses and recalls could be a thing of the past thanks to comprehensive DNA testing that would allow food manufacturers a more affordable way to test their products for any kind of contamination.