Danger: Listeria Outbreak in Recalled Dairy Products

Danger: Listeria Outbreak in Recalled Dairy Products


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a crucial food safety alert regarding a potential listeria outbreak associated with recalled dairy products in seven states. This alert stems from Rizo-López Foods, which voluntarily recalled various cheeses and dairy items manufactured in its Modesto facility. The concern revolves around the possible contamination of these products with Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause severe health issues.


Rizo-López Foods took this step in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), emphasizing the need for immediate action to mitigate potential health risks. The CDC is actively investigating the situation, with 26 reported cases of infections across seven states. Regrettably, this outbreak has resulted in 23 hospitalizations and two fatalities in California and Texas.

The recall covers a broad spectrum of products sold nationwide under different brands, including Campesino, Casa Cardenas, Don Francisco, Dos Ranchitos, El Huache, Food City, La Ordena, Rio Grande, Rizo Bros, San Carlos, Santa Maria, Tio Francisco, and 365 Whole Foods Market. Products with sell-by dates ranging from March 23 to July 31, 2024, are implicated.

It's crucial for consumers to be aware of the potential hazards and check their refrigerators and freezers for the listed products. If any are found, immediate disposal is recommended. Rizo-López Foods has established a hotline at 1-833-296-2233, available 24 hours a day, to address consumer queries and concerns.

The CDC echoes the urgency of this matter by advising shoppers who may have purchased the recalled products to either throw them away or return them to the place of purchase. Importantly, consumers are strongly urged not to consume any of the recalled cheeses or dairy products.

In addition to the product recall, the CDC emphasizes the importance of cleaning refrigerators, containers, and surfaces that may have come into contact with the implicated items. This thorough cleaning process aims to minimize the risk of cross-contamination and further ensure consumer safety.

The CDC has been monitoring infections related to this specific strain of listeria for several years, dating back to 2014, and the current outbreak is ongoing. Previous investigations in 2017 and 2021 identified queso fresco and similar cheeses as potential sources, but no specific brand was pinpointed. The recent resurgence of illnesses in December 2023 prompted a renewed investigation in January 2024, leading to the discovery of the outbreak strain in a cheese sample from Rizo-López Foods.

Listeria monocytogenes can result in severe illness, especially when the bacteria spread beyond the gut to other parts of the body following consumption of contaminated food. Those at higher risk include pregnant individuals, individuals aged 65 or older, or those with weakened immune systems. Pregnant individuals face the risk of pregnancy loss, premature birth, or life-threatening infections in their newborns.

For individuals over 65 or with weakened immune systems, listeria often leads to hospitalization and, in some cases, death. While other individuals may become infected, severe illness is rare, according to the FDA.

Listeria infection symptoms can manifest as mild food poisoning, including diarrhea or fever. Many individuals recover without antibiotic treatment, but prompt medical attention is crucial if symptoms persist. The CDC advises individuals who suspect they may have consumed contaminated food and are experiencing related symptoms to contact a healthcare provider, especially if they fall into the high-risk categories.

In conclusion, the CDC's food safety alert and the subsequent recall by Rizo-López Foods underscore the potential dangers associated with listeria contamination. Consumers are strongly urged to take immediate action by checking their refrigerators, disposing of the recalled products, and cleaning affected areas. Prioritizing consumer safety is paramount, particularly for vulnerable populations at higher risk of severe listeria-related complications. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and take proactive measures to protect your health.


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