With the rise of Listeria in the headlines, here’s everything you need to know about the potentially fatal illness.
Sierra Oshrin

Panera Bread has issued a national recall of cream cheese products from its bakery-cafes amid concern of potential listeria contamination.

Although no illnesses have been reported, the St. Louis-based chain said Sunday it issued the recall “out of an abundance of caution” after samples of one variety of two-ounce cream cheese from a single production day showed a positive result for the presence of listeria.

Tests on cream cheese samples manufactured before and after the production run in question all showed no traces of listeria, the company said.

Listeriosis is a serious infection typically caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, the contaminant found in the single Panera testing.

An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The infection is most likely to cause sickness in pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems, the CDC says.

Symptoms are usually short-term in healthy individuals and may include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, Panera said, citing information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Panera said the recall applies to all varieties of the company’s two-ounce and eight-ounce cream cheese products. This includes all cream cheese products with an expiration date on or before April 2, 2018, the company said.

The two-ounce and eight-ounce varieties covered by the recall are: Plain Cream Cheese; Reduced-Fat Plain Cream Cheese; Reduced-Fat Chive & Onion Cream Cheese; Reduced-Fat Honey Walnut Cream Cheese; and Reduced-Fat Wild Blueberry Cream Cheese.

The recall affects products sold in Panera’s U.S. bakery-cafes, and does not affect the company’s Canada facilities or any other Panera Bread food products, the company said.

Panera advised consumers who have these products to discard them immediately and contact the company’s customer service department at 1-855-6-PANERA from Monday through Sunday, 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM. CST, or visit for a full refund.

“The safety of our guests and associates is paramount, therefore we are recalling all cream cheese products sold in the U.S. with an active shelf life,” said Blain Hurst, Panera’s president and CEO, said in a statement issued with the recall. “We have likewise ceased all manufacturing in the associated cream cheese facility.”

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kevin McCoy on Twitter: @kmccoynyc


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