The popular food discounter said higher-than-allowed concentrations of the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium had been found in individual samples of two cheeses – "Reinhardshof, Harzer Käse, 200g" and "Reinhardshof, Bauernkäse mit Edelschimmel, 200g." The company has pulled the cheeses off its shelves and is offering customers who purchased the products their money back.
"In the interest of consumer protection, Lidl recommends that customers not eat the cheese but return the product to a Lidl outlet, where the purchase price will be refunded," the company said.
According to Lidl, the cheeses were manufactured by the Austrian firm Prolactal.
The Listeria monocytogenes bacterium, common called Listeria, can appear in dairy or meat products that have not been handled properly. The presence of Listeria can not be recognized by smell or taste.
However, the bacterium is responsible for listeriosis, a potentially lethal food-borne infection. Symptoms include diarrhoea and stomach pain. If untreated, it can lead to high fever, severe headaches, paralysis and dizziness.
The infection can be serious and even deadly for pregnant women, babies, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
Listeria can be successfully treated with antibiotics.