Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Cottage Cheese Recall: Wayward Curds

This was a series of emails shared by my friend Joy M. in Los Angeles about the cottage cheese recall (Knudsen) that does affect many brands. (permission granted to post)

I=Joy M.

I just hung up the phone with Kraft Corp. They’re sending me a $5.29 refund for cottage cheese I bought and ate and was recalled…not made in China, but made in a plant in N.Y…not supposed to be anything wrong with it…but it was spoiling early…&#%$

Dear Ms. Wenner,

I am looking for information on the Kraft web site about your recent recall of Knudsen Cottage Cheese  and I can’t find it.

As a consumer who ate 3/4 of a 32 oz carton of Knudsen’s Low Fat cottage cheese (dated 17 Aug 2007  09:35
TS2 Plant 06-245)  – bar code #49900 34702,

I want to know:

1. Why was the cottage cheese recalled and what was wrong with the product?
2. Which plant manufactured the cottage cheese that I ate?
3. Will the product make me sick or have long term health affects?
4. What is Kraft doing to solve the problem?
5. Why can’t I find any information on the recall or on any follow up on the Kraft web site?  If it is there, please send me the URL.

I have been eating Knudsen Cottage Cheese for over 55 years and up until this recall have enjoyed it over all others.  But now,  it is not to be found on any supermarket shelves (I checked Von’s and Albertson’s in Los Angeles),  and  I have serious concerns about ever eating it again.

I hope to hear from you at your earliest convenience.  Thank you so much.

Since writing the email to Kraft I have continued to investigate:

1. I called Von’s on National Blvd. where I purchased the cottage cheese. The store manager (Henry) said no one specified why it was recalled but he did say it was NOT a Class I  recall which (he said) is a “hold & freeze” type of recall, one in which there are ‘health concerns’.

2.  I called the Cheese & Dairy Corp. Offices of Kraft and they told me to call 1-800-323-0768  where I spoke with a customer service rep (Todd) who happened to be located in British Columbia.  He said the product was recalled due to excessive yeast in the product which caused it to spoil early. I asked if it was yeast that was added or yeast that occurs naturally and he couldn’t answer the question.

He said the recall was a quality issue, not a health issue.  I asked when the product would come back on the shelves and he did not know.

I asked if Kraft or mfg. plants that process foods for Kraft ever uses products or additives from foreign countries.  He assured me they do not but if they did, they would label the product or ingredient as such.

3.  I received a phone call from Kraft. Elisabeth Wenner forwarded my email to someone else in Consumer Relations in Illinois…and someone in Kraft found my telephone number…I’m in their system as a consumer waiting for a refund….. but anyway, this woman (Angela) called to
assure me it was a quality issue having to do with excessive yeast. She assured me they do not use ingredients from foreign countries.

When I asked WHY there is no information on any of their Web sites about this, she said they issue health-related recall information on their site, not quality recalls.

She said they are currently investigating the Tulare, Calif. plant which makes cottage cheese for the multitude of  states the recall affected.

I asked her to keep me informed about the situation; and when they will be putting good product on the shelves again.

I think Joy M. should be a private detective or quality control manager. Good work Joy!

  1. Sidenote: Various Kraft representatives gave me some conflicting information about where the recalled cottage cheese was made.

    1. The first Kraft representative told me the cottage cheese I ate was made in NY

    2. The next Kraft representative in British Columbia would not tell me which plant the cottage cheese was made in. When I inquired why, he said “we do not divulge this information for security reasons.” When I told him news reports all over the internet said it was made in Tulare, he then conceded. And when I told him a previous representative told me the cottage cheese I ate was made in NY, he indicated she made a mistake, it was not made in NY.

    It’s exasperating trying to get information from the second largest food manufacturer in the world.

  2. Maybe this is a reason to give up cottage cheese.

    Decades ago there was a spinoff of Mary Tyler Moore Show called Rhoda. Rhoda Morganstern, played by Valerie Harper, was Mary’s Jewish friend.

    Where Mary was white bread, trim, proper and organized; Rhoda was a bagel, who dressed in peasant style clothes with lots of bracelets, slightly plump, and borderline disheveled. But she had such a cute boyfriend (Joe) who later married her.

    I related to Rhoda. Up until that point on TV, everyone looked and acted the same. Rhoda was different.

    In one episode, Rhoda has a rash and the doctors are testing her for allergies. It turns out she’s allergic to cottage cheese which brought a big smile to her face.

    Point of story: zero; just a walk down memory lane.

    Joy, It’s a damn shame that you cannot get two people at Kraft to agree on anything.

  3. I have been so curious about this cottage cheese thing. I had to throw away (3) lg. containers before I realized there was a problem. I have used Knudsen for years and it seems to be the 4% (yellow container) that is not back on the shelves yet.

    I’m not sure I will buy it again, Alta Dena brand is really good, try it. Thanks for the info

  4. i have had several severe allergic reactions to cottage cheese. the last time i ate lagsagna with cottage cheese in it. i didn’t know it was in there at the time i ate it. a few hours later i was in the emergency room with severe stomach pains and throwing up. i have been trying to research cottage cheese to see what is in it that would make this happen to me. i can eat cheese and drink milk with no problem.

    if there is someone who can help me please let me know.


  5. Michelle,
    So sorry to hear about your emergency room experience.

    I was looking up how cottage cheese is made and if you make it at home, you need something called mesophilic culture starter which is fermented buttermilk that sits on the counter for awhile and coagulates.

    You also need rennet which is an enzyme from the stomach of a calf or pig. The cottage cheese container may say renase or enzyme. Then of course you need milk.

    If you’re not allergic to milk or cheese than maybe the mesophilic culture starter is the problem.

    Hopefully you’re not allergic to chocolate.

  6. Annie,
    Some cottage cheese has guar gum or xanathan guy as solidifiers and stabilizers. Perhaps one or the other was removed or the ratio altered.

    You could always contact Knudsen and inquire. I bet you’re not the only one who feels that way.

    The best cottage cheese I have ever tasted is called Nancy’s. It’s kind of expensive for a small container but tastes more like a dessert. It’s hard to go back to regular cottage cheese after Nancy’s. She spoiled me as it’s very creamy and has a different consistency than say Trader Joe’s or some generic variety.

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