Contaminated cheese pulled off shelves

ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 12:52 13/03/2014
Whitestone Windsor Blue cheese
RECALLED: Whitestone Windsor Blue cheese.

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Blue cheese contaminated with listeria has been pulled off supermarket shelves in a recall of 500 kilograms of product.

Oamaru-based Whitestone Cheese has recalled Windsor Blue cheese purchased in February and March and is warning cheese-lovers against eating the contaminated product.

A public notice in The Press this week said Windsor Blue was sold in supermarkets, delicatessens and other food retail outlets across the country.

''If you have consumed any of these products and have any concerns about illness, please contact your doctor or seek medical advice,'' it said.

''Customers should return the product to their retailer for a full refund or phone 0800 892 43373 with any queries.''

Whitestone Cheese chief executive Simon Berry said this morning that the cheese was ''back on stream'' after 500 clear tests.

''We're shipping out fresh batches that have all been tested clear. [The contaminated cheese] has been taken off the shelves,'' he said.

Whitestone Cheese investigated the source of contamination and found it to be ''environmental'' rather than production-related.

The company believed listeria spores dropped onto the floor in a refrigerated unit, which somehow got onto the cheese while it was being stored.

''We put it down to a chiller unit being changed in our plant. [The listeria] was on the product, not in it.''

The Ministry of Heath (MoH) says listeria usually causes few or no symptoms in healthy adults and children, but elderly people are more at risk of severe disease.

Listeriosis is also particular dangerous for pregnant woman, newborn babies and people with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms include mild fever, headache, aches and pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.

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- The Press

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