Cheese is probably the only thing keeping me from going vegan, to be honest. I could do without the meat or the fish but a life without pizza… I don’t even want to think about it. Many celebrities can’t get enough too even if we know it’s not good for us – like cheddar in a good tuna melt – cheese just holds life together.
Sadly not every cheese out there makes us feel all gooey inside. There’s the high fat and salt content that can lead to long-term problems like diabetes and high blood pressure, leading a lot of people to go off the stuff and turn vegan, despite its tastiness. Then there’s also the whole “cheese is essentially gone off milk” idea – and there is a danger it can kill you. This, sadly, was exactly the case for a few residents in the state of New York.
Vulto Creamery, an artisanal cheesemaker in Walton, NY, has been ordered by a federal judge to stop production on its cheeses after a multi-state listeriosis outbreak last year made eight people sick and caused two deaths.
Listeriosis is a potentially fatal food-borne illness caused by eating food contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Symptoms typically include fever, aches, nausea, and diarrhea, and the condition is especially dangerous for newborns, small children, the elderly, people who are pregnant, and those with impaired immune systems.
According to Food Safety News, the company recalled the Ouleout cheese on March 3 last year. Four days later the recall was expanded to include all Vulto’s soft and semi-soft cheese, and four days after that, it was expanded further to include all produced by Vulto Creamery. The company reportedly destroyed its entire stockpile, and Buzzfeed reports that the company has not been producing any cheese since, though it has not been legally prevented from doing so until now.
According to an FDA report, there are still multiple food safety violations at the creamery. Because of this, Vulto Creamery has been prohibited from manufacturing or distributing food unless it meets several conditions set out by the court. These include hiring an independent expert to develop an effective sanitation program and receiving written confirmation from the FDA that their manufacturing processes comply with food safety laws.
The creamery website is still up and running, listing five kinds of cheese, including Ouleout but a “recall” link on the site returns an empty page, and Google search results for Vulto carry the message “Permanently closed.” Listeria was responsible for one of the biggest food recalls of 2017. If this has scared you off cheese, consider skipping it out entirely.
People have claimed a plethora of benefits after cutting out cheese from their lives completely, including clearer skin, better digestion and metabolism and more energy. Veganism isn’t for everyone but even if you can eat whole, unprocessed foods a couple of times week you will see a huge difference in your life. Maybe you won’t even miss cheese (unlikely, but it won’t hurt to try).