The death of a 54-year-old Norwegian, caused by listeria bacteria last weekend had no connection to Danish cheese, the Norwegian health authorities have confirmed following Norwegian newspaper reports that the victim had eaten the MD Foods' cheese "Sorte Sara" and "Gamle Ole".
The fact that MD Foods has not been approached by the Norwegian authorities in connection with the matter, was taken as an early sign that the Danish cheese products were not suspected of containing the feared listeria bacteria.
On Sunday, Kjertil Berg, Head of Department at the Norwegian Health Inspectorate, announced to MD Foods and Norsk Kringkastning, the Norwegian State Broadcasting Corporation, that tests on "Sorte Sara" and "Gamle Ole" from relevant shops had found no trace of listeria. Suspicion is now focused elsewhere.
Moreover, Kjertil Berg explained that MD Foods Norway was not approached in connection with the listeria scare because the authorities regarded it unlikely that the death was linked to the consumption of Danish cheese.
Although MD Foods already operates one of Europe's most efficient anti-listeria systems, the widespread allegations in the Norwegian media forced MD to initiate a major examination of the control systems at all the dairies which could have supplied the suspected cheeses. Concurrently, MD Foods Norway sought further detailed information from the Norwegian health authorities in order to assess whether the cheese products posed any threat to consumers. If so, the two cheeses, both matured products, would be immediately withdrawn from the shops.
As no further listeria outbreak has occurred, all indications are that any question marks relating to Danish cheese have now been removed.