UPDATE: Cheddar cheese recalled over listeria fears is safe to eat

A brand of cheddar cheese that was urgently recalled from shops has been tested and proven safe to eat.

Previously, shoppers were being urged not to eat Galloway Coloured Medium Grated Cheddar amid fears that it could contain deadly bacteria.

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However, Lactalis McLelland, the company that makes the cheese, has now carried out tests and found no trace of the bacteria.

Hugues Meaudre, Group Managing Director for Lactalis McLelland, said: “The initial testing indicated the potential presence of a very low level of Listeria monocytogenes and as consumer safety is our number one priority, we took the decision to implement a precautionary recall of the affected batch while further testing was conducted.

“The final results now show that the first results were in simple terms a ‘false positive’ and in fact no Listeria monocytogenes was present in the Galloway Grated cheese batch number 9154G53.

“We apologise to our customers and consumers for any concern caused by our decision to recall this product, but we will always err on the side of caution where food safety is concerned.”

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The recall had been issued in all stores across the UK, however Asda says the cheese is only stocked in its Scottish shops.

Listeria risk

In its recall for the product, the Food Standards Agency said "there is a risk of contamination by listeria monocytogenes.”

If eaten, this bacteria can cause listeriosis, which can be life-threatening as it can mean those affected develop sepsis, meningitis and encephalitis.

A listeria infection, which often goes symptomless and unnoticed, can also cause patients to exhibit flu-like symptoms such as high temperature, muscle ache or pain, chills, sickness and diarrhoea.

The bacteria caused the ongoing food poisoning scandal in the NHS. So far, five patients have died after they ate pre-packed hospital sandwiches which were contaminated.

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