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No link between Norwegian listeria and Danish cheese

Press Release   •   Mar 02, 2000 09:18 CET

Norwegian authorities' suspicions about a possible link between the death of a 54- year-old man from listeria poisoning in Oslo and two types of Danish cheese, now seem to have been allayed. According to the Norwegian health authorities, no link has been established between the cheese and the two cases of listeria poisoning which were caused by two different types of listeria bacteria.

In addition, tests on the two types of cheese concerned, "Gamle Ole" and "Sorte Sarah," in a number of Oslo shops have revealed no trace of listeria.
This has been further confirmed by an extensive re-examination of the last twelve months' listeria control measurements at Tistrup Dairy, where the two cheeses are made. The analysis was initiated by MD Foods on Sunday following the listeria allegations in the Norwegian press. These tests did not only include checking the cheese control figures for the past year, but also analysing all tests from outlets, ventilations systems etc. to ascertain whether listeria bacteria might have infected a single cheese which subsequently went undetected by MD Foods' safety system, one of the most advanced food control systems in Europe. This possibility, too, has now been discarded.
The Norwegian media announced on Saturday that a 54-year-old man had died from listeria poisoning allegedly from eating the two types of MD cheese. Although the death had occurred one week earlier and the authorities appear to have suspected the two types of cheese for several weeks, MD Foods was unaware of the situation until the weekend. After being approached by Lars Poulsen, General Manager of MD Foods Norway, the Norwegian authorities then confirmed that the two cheeses in question were no longer under suspicion.
By then, however, several Norwegian shops had removed the two products from their shelves. MD Foods also registered a number of reactions from Sweden, Denmark and Germany. No assessment has been made as to the losses suffered by MD Foods during the listeria scare.