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Panera voluntarily recalls cream cheese

Bakery-café chain says samples tested positive for Listeria

Panera Bread Co. is recalling 2- and 8-ounce packages of cream cheese after samples from one production day tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, the company said Sunday, adding that no illnesses have been reported. 

The St. Louis-based bakery-café chain said the recall is limited to U.S. restaurants and does not affect Canadian locations. The cream cheese products have an expiration date on or before April 2, 2018, the company said. 

Tests of cream cheese samples manufactured both before and after the suspect production run were negative, the company said. 

“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 Blaine Hurst, Panera president and CEO, in a statement. “We have likewise ceased all manufacturing in the associated cream cheese facility.” 

While only one variety of 2-ounce cream cheese from a single production day yielded positive Listeria results, Hurst said the chain intends “to go above and beyond for our guests.” 

According to the Food and Drug Administration, Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. 

The cream cheese varieties being recalled include plain, reduced-fat plain, reduced fat chive and onion, reduced-fat honey walnut and reduced-fat wild blueberry. 

“Consumers in possession of these products should discard them immediately and contact Panera Bread customer service,” the company said.

The customer service phone number is (855) 672-6372, and is available from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST. Customers with other question can consult the website panerabread.com/recall.

As of Dec. 26, 2017, Panera had 2,065 bakery-cafés in 46 states and Ontario under the Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co. and Paradise Bakery & Café names.

In July 2017, JAB Holding Co. acquired Panera for $7.5 billion. The investment fund also owns Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Caribou Coffee, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Intelligentsia Coffee.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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