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Deadly Listeria outbreak linked to cotija and queso fresco

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Cotija, cheese, listeria, outbreak
Listeria outbreak linked to cotija cheese (Photo: The Associated Press)
  • Listeria outbreak linked to cotija and queso fresco.
  • The CDC is investigating the case.
  • Seven states have been affected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a public health alert about a Listeria outbreak linked to cheese sold by Rizo López Foods.

The California company withdrew all its dairy products from the market after it was connected to a decade-long outbreak.

Listeria can survive in various places, contaminating other types of food, and is especially dangerous for vulnerable people.

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The CDC issued a public health warning on Tuesday about an outbreak of Listeria infections.

The recall includes cotija and other soft cheeses produced by Rizo López Foods, which has now withdrawn all of its cheeses and other dairy products from the market.

Authorities are conducting a thorough investigation into the situation.

They have also issued a list of the products that may be affected.

Listeria outbreak linked to cotija cheese

Listeria outbreak cotija cheese, Listeria, Rizo López Foods, CDC, Infection Outbreaks, Fresh Cheeses, MundoNOW

At least 26 people have been infected in seven states and 23 of them were hospitalized. One person died in California and another in Texas due to the disease, according to the CDC.

«Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 15, 2014, to December 10, 2023,» The CDC said in a statement.

These outbreaks were investigated in 2017 and 2021, but there was not enough data to identify the origin of the outbreak.

The most recent investigation finally led to a plant belong to Rizo López Foods.

How was the most recent investigation launched?

Food Safety, Market Recall, Foodborne Illnesses, MundoNOW

New illnesses were reported in December, prompting the CDC to reopen the investigation, the AP reported.

The Listeria strain linked to the outbreak was found in a cheese sample from Rizo-Lopez Foods.

Federal officials confirmed that their cotija and queso fresco had made people sick.

The recalled products were distributed throughout the country in stores such as El Super, Cardenas Market, Northgate González, Superior Groceries and El Rancho.

The company has withdrawn all of its dairy products from stores

Public Health, Epidemiological Research, Food Contamination, Measures, MundoNOW

Rizo López is a private company founded in 1990 and based in Modesto, California.

The company employs almost 300 people in the production of a variety of cheeses, meats, desserts, beverages, creams and other foods.

On February 5, López Rizo ordered the withdrawal of all its cheeses and other dairy products from store shelves.

The CDC warned consumers not to eat any of their cheese or dairy products and pointed out that Listeria can survive inside the refrigerator, contaminating other foods and surfaces.

What do experts recommend?

Consumers Alert, Listeria Symptoms, Health Surveillance, MundoNOW

The FDA declared that the recalled products include cheese, yogurt and sour cream sold under the brands Tio Francisco, Don Francisco, Rizo Bros, Rio Grande, Food City and El Huache, among others.

The CDC says consumers who have these products should throw them away.

They should also thoroughly clean the refrigerator, counters and other contact areas.

Listeria can survive in the refrigerator and easily contaminate other foods and surfaces.

What is Listeria?

listeria outbreak linked to cotija, queso fresco, recall, MundoNOW

Listeria infection is especially harmful to pregnant woman, people over 65 years of age and those who have a weakened immune system.

Symptoms begin within two weeks after eating foods contaminated with Listeria and include fever, muscle aches and fatigue.

Others symptoms can be headache, stiff neck, confusion and loss of balance.

Consumers are warned to call a doctor right away if they experience any of these symptoms after eating any of these products.

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