A queso fresco Listeria recall for cheeses sold under the brand names El Abuelito, Rio Grande, and Rio Lindo has been issued in connection with an ongoing outbreak. The recalled cheeses were at grocery stores in Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Consumers who have purchased these cheeses should not eat them as Listeria can cause serious illness and death. Among pregnant women, Listeria can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. (Photos and List of recalled product)
El Abuelito Cheese of Paterson, NJ issued the recall yesterday after genetic testing revealed that the Listeria isolate extracted from a sample of El Abuelito queso fresco is the same as the one cultured from people sickened in this outbreak. The company has ceased the production and distribution of the queso fresco products.
The outbreak currently includes seven illnesses in four states, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Virginia. The recalled cheeses are sold in all of these states. All of the people sickened in this outbreak have been hospitalized. Four of the cases were reported from Maryland. Connecticut, New York and Virginia have each reported one case.
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Queso Fresco Listeria Recall
All brands of the recalled cheeses have “sell by” dates through 032821.
Recalled El Abuelito brand queso fresco – sold in CT, NJ, NY and PA
Recalled Rio Grande Food Products brand queso fresco was distributed in MD, NC and VA
Recalled Rio Lindo brand queso fresco was distributed in MD and NC
Symptoms of a Listeriosis
Symptoms of a Listeria infection usually develop within two weeks of exposure but can take as long as two months to appear. They include high fever, severe headache, muscle stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of balance, and convulsions. Pregnant women are at increased risk of contracting these infections which can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature delivery of an infected newborn even if the expectant mother only experiences mild flu-like symptoms. Others at high risk are seniors and people with compromised immune systems.
Listeria is a bacteria that is found in nature. Some Listeria species are harmless, Listeria monocytogenes, the Listeria associated with this recall and outbreak can cause serious illness and death. All species of Listeria thrive in cool temperatures which is why companies that make dairy products need to take preventative actions to control for its growth. A recent study by CDC researchers for that unsanitary conditions are a common cause of Listeria outbreaks linked to pasteurized cheeses.
Last year, inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found serious food safety violations at El Abuelito’s facility located on Main Street in Paterson, NJ including non-pathogenic Listeria species. The finding indicated that the environment in the facility was conducive to the growth of Listeria monocytogenes and the company needed to make some changes. But the El Abuelito’s attempts to correct its food safety violations were insufficient, according to a June 2020 warning letter.
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.