The FDA asked for a recall. Estrella refused.
Whether Estrella should be considered heroic for fighting Big Government, as the article suggests, or instead is allowing dangerous products to go into the marketplace depends on point of view.
Mine is that every producer—large and small—who makes food should be producing it safely under a HACCP plan or its equivalent. If the product carries special risks, as cheeses sometimes do, the producer ought to be testing to make sure it is safe.
I have visited plenty of artisanal makers of raw and pasteurized cheeses who produce them safely. These makers worry constantly about how to make sure that their cheeses are—and stay—safe.
If you have a strong immune system and are not pregnant, Listeria is unlikely to make you sick. If not, however, watch out: Listeria can be fatal, especially to unborn infants.
In a column I wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle last March, I responded to a question about Listeria from a reader who lost a baby after eating a Listeria-contaminated pasteurized cheese (the contamination must have occurred later). More on this below.