Queso Fresco and Cotija Cheese Listeria Outbreak [Update]

Updated April 10 with final information at the outbreak’s end. A deadly Listeria outbreak linked to queso fresco, cotija, and other cheeses made by Rizo-López Foods of Modesto, CA has ended after sickening 26 people, killing two of them. One woman suffered the loss of her pregnancy.

Whole genome sequencing revealed that Listeria found at the company’s manufacturing facility matches the strain that sickened 26 people in 11 states between June 15, 2014, and December 10, 2023. Twenty-three people were hospitalized.

Do You Need a Listeria Lawyer?

Rizo – Lopez Cheese Listeria Recall

The company recalled all of its dairy products and suspended operations while state and federal health officials investigated the outbreak. The recall includes cheese, yogurt, and sour cream sold under the brand names:

  • Tio Francisco
  • Don Francisco
  • Rizo Bros
  • Rio Grande
  • Food City
  • El Huache
  • La Ordena
  • San Carlos
  • Campesino
  • Santa Maria
  • Dos Ranchitos
  • Casa Cardenas
  • 365 Whole Foods Market 
Queso and Cotija Listeria Outbreak

Cotija and Queso Listeria Outbreak

Between June 15, 2014, and December 10, 2023, 26 illnesses in this outbreak were reported from 11 states – California (8), Arizona (4), Colorado (4), Texas (2), Tennessee (2), WA (1), OR (1), NV (1), NC (1), GA (1), and Fl (1). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigated these illnesses in 2017 and 2021. Both times queso fresco and similar cheeses were identified as the likely source but a specific brand could not be identified.

Twenty-three of the 26 people sickened in this outbreak were hospitalized. Two people died, one in California, the other in Texas. One woman suffered a pregnancy loss. Two women delivered newborns with Listeria infections.

Symptoms of a Listeria Infection

Health officials said 16 of the 22 patients reported eating queso fresco, cotija, or a similar soft cheese before developing symptoms of a Listeria infection which include:

  • High fever, stiff neck, and other muscle aches
  • Severe headache, loss of balance, confusion, and convulsions
  • Upset stomach or diarrhea

Usually, these symptoms appear within 24 hours of exposure but sometimes they can take as long as 70 days to appear. Listeria poses a heightened risk to people 65 and over and those who have weakened immune systems. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely than other people to contract Listeria infections.

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Experienced Listeria Lawyers

The Pritzker Hageman Listeria lawyers have an unequaled record of success in representing people harmed by listeriosis and other foodborne pathogens. Our firm has represented clients in every major  Listeria outbreak and has obtained numerous 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 your illness is included in this outbreak or if you suffered the wrongful death of a family member 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.

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Category: Food Poisoning, Listeria
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