RYE BROOK, N.Y. -- General Foods Corp. is withdrawing its Liederkranz soft-ripened cheese across the nation because a sample of the product was found to have bacterial contamination, company officials said Wednesday.
The cheese was produced at the Fisher Cheese Co. plant in Van Wert, Ohio, which manufactures the soft-ripened cheese exclusively for General Foods.
General Foods spokesman Trecie Fennell said FDA inspectors in the course of a nationwide sampling of soft-ripened cheeses found bacterial contamination in samples from one batch of Liederkranz cheese at the Fisher Cheese plant.
'No instance of consumer illness has been reported,' Fennell said. 'Until such time as we have determined the source of this contamination, the only appropriate action for us to take is to withdraw the product from the market.'
General Foods and Fisher Cheese immediately put an embargo on the entire batch of cheese found to be contaminated. It remains embargoed and none has reached food stores.
'It was never out of our control,' said Fennell, noting the batch totaled 500 cases.
Since the source of contamination has not yet been determined, General Foods is voluntarily withdrawing all existing products produced prior to the suspect batch. Officials are conducting further microbiological tests on those cases.
A total of 20,000 to 30,000 packages were expected to be withdrawn nationwide.
The company urged consumers who have Liederkranz cheese in their homes to return it to the stores where it was bought for a refund.
The cheese is distributed by a General Foods subsidiary, Otto Roth & Co. Inc. of Moonachie, N.J.