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Listeria Cheese Outbreak: El Abuelito Cheese, Inc. Recall

Posted in Listeria,Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls on February 22, 2021

On February 19, 2021, El Abuelito Cheese, Inc. of Paterson, NJ recalled all Queso Fresco products with “sell by” dates through 03/28/21 purportedly linked to the Listeria Cheese Outbreak. Products include El Abuelito, Rio Grande, and Rio Lindo brand queso frescos, distributed to CT, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, and VA. A full list of recalled products is included below. At this time, El Abuelito Cheese, Inc. has ceased production and distribution of all products after this Listeria Cheese Outbreak Recall.

Listeria Cheese Outbreak Recall

Products include:

Brand

Product Name

Size

Container Type

UPC Code

El Abuelito Cheese Queso Fresco Regular 12 oz. Plastic Container 673130100003
El Abuelito Cheese Queso Fresco Promoción 10 oz. Plastic Container 673130100078
El Abuelito Cheese Queso Fresco de Hoja 12 oz. Plastic Container 673130100065
El Abuelito Cheese Queso Fresco 5 Lb. Vaccuum Packed 673130100058
El Abuelito Cheese Queso Fresco Guatemala 12 oz. Plastic Container 673130100027
Rio Grande Food Products, Inc. Chirilagua Queso de Hacienda 12 oz. Plastic Container 738529005571
Rio Grande Food Products, Inc. Queso Fresco Campestre con Hoja 14 oz. Plastic Container 812324031161
Rio Grande Food Products, Inc. Queso Fresco Campestre Artesanal 14 oz. Plastic Container 738529002518
Rio Grande Food Products, Inc. Queso Fresco con Hoja 14 oz. Plastic Container 738529004581
Rio Grande Food Products, Inc. Queso Fresco Yorito 12 oz. Plastic Container 738529005564
Rio Grande Food Products, Inc. Queso Fresco Olancho 14 oz. Plastic Container 812324031222
Rio Grande Food Products, Inc. Cuajada Fresca Guatemalteca 12 oz. Plastic Container 738529001276
Rio Grande Food Products, Inc. Cuajada Fresca Hondureña 12 oz. Plastic Container 738529001269
Rio Grande Food Products, Inc. Cuajada Fresca Salvadoreña 12 oz. Plastic Container 738529001252
Rio Lindo Queso Fresco Mexicano 12 oz. Plastic Container 718122088587
Rio Lindo Queso Fresco Hondureño 12 oz. Plastic Container 718122088591
Rio Lindo Queso Fresco Salvadoreño 12 oz. Plastic Container 718122088607

U.S. Distribution of Recalled El Abuelito Queso Fresco

Product Distribution*: CT, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, VA

*States with confirmed distribution; product could have been distributed further

FDA Listeria Cheese Outbreak Recall Notices

According to the previous notices:

February 17, 2021

The FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections potentially linked to Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses.

FDA has initiated an investigation and is collecting information to try to determine the source of the outbreak. Although the investigation is ongoing, CDC’s analysis of epidemiologic information indicates that Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses are the leading hypotheses for the cause of the illnesses. No specific type or brand of cheese has been confirmed as the source of illness. CDC reported that seven people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported in Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Virginia. Six of the seven ill people are Hispanic. Of the four people interviewed, three reported eating at least one type of Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses, and each of the three reported eating queso fresco.

As part of this outbreak investigation, the Connecticut Department of Public Health collected product samples of El Abuelito-brand Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses from a store where a sick person bought cheeses. Sample analysis showed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in samples of El Abuelito Queso Fresco sold in 10 oz packages, marked as Lot A027 with an expiration date of 02/26/2021. Samples are currently undergoing Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis to determine if the Listeria monocytogenes found in these samples is a match to the outbreak strain. At this time, there is not enough evidence to determine if this outbreak is linked to El Abuelito Queso Fresco.

FDA and state partners are working with the firm to recall the affected lot and to determine if additional products should be recalled. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

February 12, 2021

The FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections potentially linked to Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses.

FDA has initiated an investigation and is collecting information to try to determine the source of the outbreak. Although the investigation is ongoing, CDC’s analysis of epidemiologic information indicates that Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses are the leading hypotheses for the cause of the illnesses. No specific type or brand of cheese has been confirmed as the source of illness. CDC reported that seven people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported in Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Virginia. Six of the seven ill people are Hispanic. Of the four people interviewed, three reported eating at least one type of Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses, and all three reported eating queso fresco.

FDA is in the beginning stages of this investigation, and there may be additional products impacted by this outbreak. As this outbreak investigation continues, the FDA will provide additional updates as more information becomes available.

About El Abuelito Cheese Inc.

El Abuelito Cheese Inc. was founded on May 15th, 1997 by Mr. Miguel Torres from Puebla, Mexico. Today, it is established as company that manufactures Mexican cheeses, sour cream and meat with the highest quality standards.

Mr. Miguel Torres started his company handcrafting around 300 pounds of cheese every week in a small appliance in Passaic, New Jersey. His perseverance and dedication helped him to excel in the business, pushing him to move to a bigger place and establishing his business in Paterson, New Jersey where he currently manufactures his products. Since its beginnings, El Abuelito Inc. is committed to provide their customers with the freshest products, elaborated with high quality ingredients, and the authentic Mexican flavor.

Recommendations

If you are at higher risk for severe Listeria illness (if you are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system due to certain medical conditions or treatments) do not eat any Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses (like queso fresco, queso blanco, and queso panela), until we identify a specific type or brand that is making people sick.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have these symptoms after eating Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses:

Pregnant people typically experience only fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. However, Listeria infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

People who are not pregnant may experience headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.

Generally, make sure the Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses (like queso fresco) you eat have labels that state, “Made with pasteurized milk.”

Be aware that Hispanic-style soft cheeses made from pasteurized milk have caused Listeria outbreaks. Although pasteurization of milk kills Listeria, products made from pasteurized milk can still become contaminated if they are produced in facilities with unsanitary conditions.

Restaurants and retailers that serve or sell Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses should follow FDA’s safe handling and cleaning advice.

The Lange Law Firm Can Help

Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water.  When corporations cause Listeria food poisoning outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable.  The Lange Law Firm PLLC is one of the only law firms in the nation focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits.  This is what we do.

If you were diagnosed with Listeria after eating soft cheese in this Listeria Cheese Outbreak Recall and want to make a legal claim for compensation, we can help. Our Listeria lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your Listeria food poisoning.  Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663 or send us an e-mail here.

By: News Desk