Whole Foods might be the ideal grocery store for health-conscious consumers willing to pay a little more, but unfortunately, that far better than average reputation doesn’t mean the chain is free from the occasional food borne illness issue that runs through the larger industry. Over the past few months, at least four customers have gotten sick after eating cheese contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, and tragically, one of those affected died and another suffered a miscarriage. As such, the popular grocery store has decided to institute a full recall of the products.

According to CNBC, the cheese in question is packaged under the name Les Freres and Crave Brothers Les Freres, and it’s currently sold in Whole Foods stores in 30 states and the District of Columbia. For the time being, the product has been pulled from the shelves and signs are being placed in prominent areas inside individual stores to let customers know they should dispose of the product immediately and bring in their receipt for a full refund.

Considering an overwhelming majority of people don’t keep their receipts after grocery store purchases, I highly doubt Whole Foods will be shelling out a lot of money on returns. That being said, it’s still far better to notify people as loudly and aggressively as possible to ideally prevent further sickness. Healthy immune systems can typically fight off Listeria, though it still causes headaches, fevers and diarrhea, but the young, the old, the sick and the pregnant can face serious complications and even death.

From a public relations standpoint, it’s also best to get out ahead of these stories as quickly as possible. No company ever wants to recall anything, but when dealing with an established brand, it’s always better to protect the larger integrity, even if it’s a small issue like mistakenly putting chicken into a vegan curry salad. Whole Foods customers support that honesty and would rather forgive a company that’s open than one that covers up the truth.

Not a whole lot of details have been released about the customers who got sick, but we do know they were all adults. The majority of the instances also occurred in Minnesota, though the product was recalled everywhere to be on the safe side. Any cheese produced after July 1, however, has been tested and been deemed good to go by the people with the power to give such thumbs ups.

Pop Blend’s sincerest thoughts go out to all the sickened and the family of the sickened during this sad and difficult time. Here’s to hoping this message gets shouted as quickly and as loudly as possible so that no one else has to suffer from this same issue.



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