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Former NY cheese producer guilty in listeria outbreak case

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  • Staff Report 

Johannes Vulto and his company, Vulto Creamery LLC, pleaded guilty to causing the introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce, linked to a listeriosis outbreak in 2016-2017. The guilty plea was entered in federal court in Syracuse, acknowledging their role in the distribution of raw milk cheese contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. This admission comes after investigations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration linked the cheese to an outbreak resulting in eight hospitalizations and two fatalities.

Vulto admitted to overseeing operations at the Walton, New York-based creamery, where environmental testing repeatedly identified Listeria contamination. The outbreak prompted Vulto Creamery to cease operations and recall its products in March 2017. U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman and officials from the Justice Department and FDA underscored the importance of holding food producers accountable for endangering public health through unsanitary practices.

The convictions highlight the federal commitment to ensuring food safety and the legal consequences for manufacturers who neglect this responsibility. Johannes Vulto and Vulto Creamery are scheduled for sentencing on July 9, 2024, facing significant fines and potential probation, emphasizing the gravity of food safety violations and the legal system’s role in addressing such breaches.

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