Recalls happen all of the time, whether you're tuned in or not. Since the beginning of the year, we've seen recalls on frozen biscuits, frozen meatballs, and even frozen ice cream bars. This time, however, it's a restaurant chain that's pulling product. Panera Bread issued a nationwide preemptive, voluntary recall of all 2-ounce and 8-ounce cream cheese products that are sold in its U.S. bakery-cafes. The recall is issued in response to a positive sample test for Listeria monocytogenes.
The positive sample came from a single production day, and only affected one variety of 2-ounce cream cheese. Tests, per Panera Bread, following the initial finding on samples made before and after the positive test date have come back negative. However, Panera Bread is still issuing the voluntary recall of all varieties of unexpired 2 oz. and 8 oz. cream cheese products with an expiration date on or before 4/2/18. Every flavor is included, like Honey Walnut Cream Cheese, Plain Cream Cheese, Onion Cream Cheese, and Wild Blueberry Cream Cheese.
The recall does not extend to Panera Bread Canadian bakery cafes or any other Panera Bread food products. As Blaine Hurst, Panera's President and CEO, stated in the press release announcing the recall,
"The safety of our guests and associates is paramount, therefore we are recalling all cream cheese products sold in the US with an active shelf life. We have likewise ceased all manufacturing in the associated cream cheese facility. Only one variety of 2-oz cream cheese from a single day yielded the positive result. Our intent is to go above and beyond for our guests. You should expect nothing less from Panera."
Per the FDA, Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious infections in young children, those with weakened immune systems, or frail, elderly people. The infections can sometimes be fatal, though in healthy individuals, short-term symptoms like high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea often occur and disappear in a few days.
The Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Customers in possession of cream cheese products from Panera Bread should throw them away immediately and contact Panera Bread Customer Service at 1-855-6-PANERA from Monday through Sunday, 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CST. Customers can also visit Panera Customer Support online for a full refund.