Panera Bread is the latest food franchise to issue a recall due to a possible outbreak of listeria contamination. Unlike the significant product recalls issued by Whole Foods and Starbucks in 2016, however, Panera Bread’s encompasses all of its available cream cheese products. In other words, if you were hoping to schmear a half pound of your favorite spread on a bagel this morning, chances are you were left with a dry piece of bread.
According to CNN, the company decided to issue the blanket recall “out of an abundance of caution” when samples from a particular cream cheese product produced on a specific day tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes:
In a statement, Panera Bread said it was recalling all 2 oz. and 8 oz. cream cheese products with an expiration date on or before the second of April 2018 (4/2/18).
“Tests on cream cheese samples manufactured both before and after the production run in question have all come back negative,” the company said.
The company’s president and CEO, Blaine Hurst, added that Panera Bread “[has] likewise ceased all manufacturing in the associated cream cheese facility” until further notice. As for the seriousness of the matter, previous instances of listeria food contamination have lead to significant bouts of sickness and death. Recently, a foodborne outbreak in South Africa killed at least 61 people. Listeria monocytogenes is, of course, a fairly common pathogen that otherwise succumbs to people’s healthy immune systems. However, significant amounts can do a lot of damage — especially to those who are already sick, young, or old.