It appears that the story of Vulto Creamery may be coming to an end. Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, announced that Vulto and its owner, Jos Vulto, was the target of a consent decree of permanent injunction that bars the company from producing any cheeses until Vulto can prove the foods are safe.
The Vulto Creamery Listeria Story
In March of 2017, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, revealed that it was working with FDA and several state health agencies to find the cause of an apparent listeriosis outbreak. At that time, 6 people in 4 states had been sickened, all with a specific strain of the bacterium.
The investigation had already narrowed to focus on Ouleout cheese made by Vulto Creamery of Walton, New York. An FDA inspection of the creamery alleged poor hygiene practices, equipment in disrepair and the presence of mold in multiple locations inside the production area.
Vulto recalled the Ouleout cheese and, days later, expanded the recall to include other varieties. A few days after that, the recall was expanded again; this time Vulto recalled its entire production of all of its cheeses.
By the time the outbreak was declared over in May, the total number of victims had risen to 8. All had become ill enough to require hospitalization and 2 people had died, including a newborn.
The Injunction Against Vulto
Last week the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against Jos Vulto and Vulto Creamery. Under the injunction, the company is barred from making, handling or selling any food product under FDA jurisdiction until the agency deems the products safe.
Jos Vulto, as far as I can tell, has made no formal statement on the injunction and is reportedly not responding to press inquiries. Vulto Creamery’s website and social media accounts have not been updated for months. (A recall notice previously posted on the website has since been taken down.) Its Google business listing shows it as “Permanently Closed”.