The Listeria outbreak linked to El Abuelito queso fresco has ended with 13 illnesses and one death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since the agency’s last update on March 1, 20201,  two more illnesses were reported. The outbreak included illnesses in four states: Connecticut (1) Maryland (5) New York (4), and Virginia (3) Twelve people were hospitalized. The death as reported in Maryland.


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On February 19, 2021, El Abuelito Cheese Inc. issued a recall for cheese products. The company issued an expansion of the recall on February 27, 2021. The recalled queso fresco products were sold under the brand names El Abuelito, Rio Grande, and Rio Lindo. The recalled Quesillo and Requeson  products were sold under the brand names El Abuelito, Viejito, El Paisano, El Sabrosito, La Cima, Quesos Finos, San Carlos, and Ideal.

Listeria and Pregnancy

Symptoms of a Listeria infection include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, other muscle stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of balance, and convulsions. These symptoms usually develop within two weeks of exposure but sometimes they can take as long as two months to develop. The 13 people sickened in this outbreak, who ranged in age from less than 1 to 75 years old, reported onset of symptoms on dates ranging from October 20, 2020, to March 17, 2021.

Among pregnant women, Listeria can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature delivery of an infected newborn. Sadly, that was the case in this outbreak. Four of the outbreak patients were pregnant women, only one of the women remained pregnant after they got sick. One went into premature labor and delivered an infected newborn. Two of them suffered the loss of their pregnancies.

Queso Fresco Listeria Outbreak Investigation

Health officials interviewed 11 of the people sickened. During these interviews, eight of the patients said they ate Hispanic-style fresh, soft cheeses in the month before they became ill. Seven of them said they ate queso fresco. Four specifically said they ate cheese brands made by El Abuelito.

Experienced Listeria Lawyers

The Pritzker Hageman Listeria lawyers have extensive experience representing people harmed by listeriosis and other foodborne pathogens. Our firm has represented clients in every major Listeria outbreak. We have obtained multiple million and multi-million-dollar recoveries including:

  • $6.4 million for neurologic injury from a contaminated deli product
  • $4.5 million for permanent brain damage from contaminated food
  • $3 million for a pregnant woman who lost her unborn twins after eating contaminated food
  • $1 million for illness from contaminated deli meat

If you or a family member are part of this outbreak and would like a free consultation with our experienced team of Listeria lawyers, please contact us today by calling 888-377-8900 (toll-free), texting 612-261-0856, or by completing the form below.

We are not paid unless you win. Submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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