Panera Bread has issued a national recall of its cream cheese products from its bakery-cafes amid concern of potential listeria contamination. According to a USA Today news report, so far, no illnesses have been reported and Panera has said it is issuing the recall “out of an abundance of caution.” The St. Louis-based chain took action after samples of one variety of two-ounce cream cheese from a single production day tested positive for listeria.
Panera also said the recall applies to all varieties of the company’s two-ounce and eight-ounce cream cheese products with an expiration date on or before April 2, 2018. The varieties of cream cheeses include plain, reduced-fat plain, reduced-fat chive and onion, reduced-fat honey walnut, and reduced-fat wild blueberry. The recall does not affect the company’s Canada facilities or any other Panera Bread food products. The company advises consumers who have these products to discard them right away or return them to a store for a full refund.
Dangers of Listeria
Listeriosis is a serious infection that is usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1,600 people get listeriosis each year and about 260 die. The infection also poses a serious danger to pregnant women who could suffer miscarriages or stillbirths as a result. The infection also affects young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms may include high fever, headache, stiffness, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Protecting Your Rights
If you have contaminated food products at home or food that has sickened you, it would be in your best interest to isolate the product and preserve it carefully so it can be tested in a laboratory for the presence of harmful pathogens. It is also important that you receive prompt medical attention and treatment. Specifically, you should get diagnostic tests that can help determine what pathogen caused your illness.
In such cases, injured victims can seek compensation from negligent food producers for damages including medical expenses, loss of income, hospitalization and pain and suffering. An experienced California food poisoning lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.