December 3, 2010 / 7:24 AM / in 7 years

Saputo recalls more cheese products

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Saputo Inc, Canada’s biggest dairy processor, said on Friday it was expanding its voluntary recall of cheese products on concerns that they may contain listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that could cause serious illness.

The new recall list includes products from brands such as Faith Farms, St-Albert and Sunspun, all of which were distributed in Canada.

When asked about the cost impact of the recall, Sandy Vassiadis, a spokeswoman for Saputo, said public health was the main concern for the company at this point.

She also did not disclose how much the three brands that were being recalled contributed to total revenue.

Saputo’s earlier recall, announced on November 26, was limited to a single product from the Faith Farms brand.

Since then, the maker of Stella cheese and owner of Neilson Dairy has closed the production line on which the recalled process cheese products were made and opened an investigation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

“We do not know the root cause of the problem and that is why we are recalling all the process cheese slices that were manufactured on the production line until November 26,” Vassiadis said.

Saputo, which competes with the likes of Dean Foods and Kraft in North America, said there have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of the products that are under recall.

Consumption of food contaminated with the bacteria may cause listeriosis, which usually affects elderly persons, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems, according to the website for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Even with prompt treatment, some infections result in death. This is particularly likely in the elderly and in persons with other serious medical problems,” the CDC website said.

Two years ago, Maple Leaf Foods was involved in one of the biggest ever food recalls in Canadian history - also tied to listeria. The deaths of at least 20 people were linked to the outbreak.

Shares of Montreal-based Saputo fell as much as 3 percent to C$36.84 in early trade. They were trading at C$37.06 on Friday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The S&P/TSE Canadian Consumer Staples Index was down 0.43 percent at C$191.20.

Additional reporting by S. John Tilak; Editing by Roshni Menon

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