Saturday, May 14, 2011

Belgian Cheese Recall Goes Multinational

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A couple of months ago - March 19th to be precise - Belgomilk (Moorslede, Belgium) announced the recall of a single lot of Nazareth Classic rectangular "half-cheese" (approx. 3Kg, plastic-wrapped; Lot ID #0520018301 or 0520018302). The recalled cheese was distributed in Belgium and Germany (RASFF Reference #2011.0374).

The reason for the recall? The company found Listeria monocytogenes in a sample of this batch of cheese.

About a month later, France notified RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) member countries that it had detected Listeria monocytogenes in a sample of cheese from Belgium (RASFF Reference #2011.0511; released 18/04/2011 and updated 11/05/2011). The Alert indicated that there had been "distribution to other member countries."

It, therefore, should not have come as a shock when Belgomilk announced a greatly expanded cheese recall on May 10th, as a result of having found Listeria monocytogenes in an unspecified number of production lots of cheese manufactured at its Moorslede facility. The new recall encompassed cheeses purchased by consumers prior to May 11th.

This list of recalled cheeses includes the following brands and formats:

  • Affligem Tranches/Affligem Slices, ± 400g

  • Belgolight Jeune/Belgolight Young, 200g

  • Brugge d'Or Tranches/Brugge d'Or Slices, ±375g

  • Brugge d'Or Bloc/Brugge d'Or Wedge, ±450g/250g

  • Corsendonk Cubes, 250g

  • Grimbergen Tranches/Grimbergen Slices, ±350g

  • Grimbergen Cubes, ±315g

  • KV Light Fromage Tranches/KV Light Cheese Slices (Light 16% fromage jeune/Light 16% young cheese), ±300g

  • Nazareth Classic Bloc/Nazareth Classic Wedge, ±425g/250g

  • Nazareth Classic Cubes, 150g/250g

  • Nazareth Classic Tranches/Nazareth Classic Slices, 200g/180g

  • Nazareth Light Tranches/Nazareth Light Slices, ±300g

  • Nazareth Tranches/Nazareth Slices, 200g/150g

  • St. Maarten Classic Tranches/St. Maarten Classic Slices, 200g

In addition, the following cheeses were sold "cut to order" at creameries or dairy stands, and as "freshpack" cheese in supermarkets: Belgolight, Bocholter fromage à pain, Brugge d'Or and Nazareth Light & Classic.

Part of the Milcobel dairy cooperative, Belgomilk is headquartered in Kallo, Belgium, and is the largest milk processor in the Milcobel corporate family. Its three factories produce a variety of milk products, including milk powders, butters and cheeses. The Moorslede location produces Belgomilk's branded and Gouda-style cheeses for distribution in Belgium and for export.

According to the RASFF notification (EU #2011.0619) - issued on May 11, 2011 and updated on May 13, 2011 - the cheeses that were recalled by Belgomilk on May 10th were distributed in Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The RASFF notice does not specify which brands of cheese may have been distributed in which countries. Nevertheless, some of this information can be gleaned from recall notices posted by individual countries. The following list is current, as of May 14th.


Recalled cheeses were distributed in Colruyt, OKay, Spar, Alvo and Delhaize stores, as follows:

  • Grimbergen Tranches/Slices, ±350g (Colruyt & OKay)

  • Grimbergen Cubes, ±315g (Colyruyt, OKay, Alvo & Spar)

  • Affligem Tranches/Slices, ±400g (Colyrut & OKay)

  • Bruges d'Or Trances/Slices, ±375g (Colyrut & OKay)

  • Bruges d'Or Bloc/Wedge, ±400g (Colyrut & OKay)

  • Nazareth Classic Bloc/Wedge, ±425g (Colyrut & OKay)

  • Nazareth Fromage en Block/Wedge Cheese, ±250g (Delhaize)

  • Nazareth Light Tranches/Slices, ±300g (Colyrut & OKay)

  • Kievit Light Tranches/Slices, ±300g (Colyrut & OKay)

  • Delhaize Tranches de Nazareth/Nazareth Slices, 180g (Delhaize)

  • Delhaize Plateau de fromage Belgo-Français/Belgo-France Cheese Platter, ±400g (Delhaize)

  • Brugge Kaas Plateau de fromage Brugge/Brugge cheese platter ±450g (Delhaize)


The following recalled cheese was sold in Lidl stores in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony only:
  • St. Maarten Classic Belgian Cheese Slices, 200g


The following recalled cheeses were sold in member stores of the Colruyt group in Luxembourg:
  • Grimbergen Tranches/Slices, ±350g (Colruyt, Collivery & OKay)

  • Grimbergen Cubes, ±315g (Colyruyt, Collivery, OKay, Alvo & Spar)

  • Affligem Tranches/Slices, ±400g (Colyrut, Collivery & OKay)

  • Bruges d'Or Trances/Slices, ±375g (Colyrut, Collivery & OKay)

  • Bruges d'Or Bloc/Wedge, ±400g (Colyrut, Collivery & OKay)

  • Nazareth Classic Bloc/Wedge, ±425g (Colyrut, Collivery & OKay)

  • Nazareth Light Tranches/Slices, ±300g (Colyrut, Collivery & OKay)

  • Kievit Light Tranches/Slices, ±300g (Colyrut, Collivery & OKay)

The Netherlands
  • St. Maarten Classic Belgian Cheese Slices, 200g - sold in Lidl stores in the Netherlands

United Kingdom
  • St. Maarten Classic Belgian Cheese Slices, 200g - sold in Lidl stores in the UK

Not all countries and retailers are equally prompt at posting recall notices - if they post them at all. If you have purchased one of the recalled cheeses and your country or store does not appear on the above lists, please discard the cheese and let me know where you found it, so that I can add the information to the list for the benefit of other consumers.

Periodic updates to this recall list will be posted only on the eFoodAlert WordPress site.

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