Update on FDA Recall for Vulto Cheeses :: What Steps Should You Now Take?
Important update from my previous email (please refer to that email for baseline information):
The FDA has now issued a recall for all cheeses from Vulto Creamery, including Hamden (pictured above).
What does this mean for you?
• If you purchased Hamden from our shop, please wrap any remaining cheese tightly in plastic wrap and quarantine in your refrigerator. Bring back to Righteous Cheese between 3/14-3/17 for a full refund.
• We know that some faraway customers who have since moved from the area are still receiving this email. If you purchased any Vulto cheeses from elsewhere, you can and should follow the same protocol with the store from which you bought your cheese - even if you haven't heard from that particular store.
• Will the listeria affect you or your family?
Listeria tends to affect people with weakened or compromised immune systems, such as the elderly, pregnant women, and children. If you haven't gotten sick, you are unlikely to.
• Why did this happen?
It's impossible to say at this point exactly where the listeria got to the cheese - without further testing. It could have come from the milk before it was made into cheese (i.e. if a pump line was dirty), a source in the aging room, or been cross-contaminated by another food source or dirty hands.
• Is the listeria related to the unpasteurized milk? Maybe, but maybe not. Pasteurizing the milk would have killed off any listeria in the milk before it became cheese. However, it could have been a more virulent strain to begin with; and the cheeses in question were aged for 60 days, in theory that is enough time for a raw milk cheese to mature and lose sufficient moisture so that it is no longer a hospitable environment for any listeria. And, there are other factors that affect listeria as well (see above). Until we have further testing in this situation, we won't know.
• Why make raw milk cheese at all if there is risk?
Raw milk cheese has an incredible amount of health benefits, in addition to deliciousness.
There are many vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids that occur naturally in milk that pasteurization strips from the milk:
1. Goat’s milk is a good source of vitamin A & D
2. Sheep milk is a good source for protein, calcium, vitamin B2 and B12, and CLA (a fatty acid)
3. Cow’s milk is high in vitamin D, folic acid and zinc
CLA (Conjugate Linolic Acid) is a fatty acid found in raw milk from animals that are grass fed. It has extraordinary health benefits such as:
1. combats skin, colorectal and breast cancers
2. reduces body fat
3. decreased glucose uptake
4. reduced risk of diabetes
What does pasteurization change in cheese, flavor-wise?
1. It affects the aromatics and flavor compounds in the cheese by diminishing them
2. It kills the natural bacteria present in the milk so more (sometimes double) the starter culture has to be added to produce cheese.
3. It kills the effect of terroir by eliminating the milk's indigenous micro flora
Ultimately, it is up to each up us to decide if we want to take certain risks for the benefits.
At Righteous Cheese, we believe in artisan cheese and raw milk cheese.
We are always happy to further the discussion and answer any questions you may have - don't hesitate to reach out.