El Abuelito Cheese of Paterson, N.J., has recalled all Queso Fresco (Fresh, soft cheese), Quesillo (Oaxaca, string cheese) and Requeson (Ricotta) products, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria monocytogenes infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
All Queso Fresco products with sell by dates through 03-28-21; all Quesillo (Oaxaca, string cheese) products with sell by dates through 04-16-21; and all Requeson (Ricotta) products with sell by dates through 03-14-21 have been recalled. The products are sold as El Abuelito Cheese brand, distributed in Conn., N.J., Pa., N.Y.; Rio Grande Food Products brand, distributed in Va., N.C., Md.; Rio Lindo distributed in N.C. and Md. and Viejito, El Paisano, El Sabrosito, La Cima, Quesos Finos, San Carlos, and Ideal Brands.
The products were distributed through Feb 16, 2021, and were available in supermarkets, wholesale and retails stores.
The following products being recalled were produced at Plant #34-12179 in the following form. Retailers may have repackaged the bulk Quesillo into smaller containers and sold this repackage product to consumers. This repackaged product may not bear the original labeling and product information as described.
As of February 27, 2021, the CDC reports 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes from four states.
El Abuelito has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and El Abuelito continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.
Consumers who purchased these products are urged not to consume and to return product to the place of purchase for a full refund. FDA recommends that anyone who purchased or received any El Abuelito brand Quesillo, Requeson, or recalled Queso Fresco cheeses use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with these products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces. Consumers with questions may contact El Abuelito Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST at 973-345-3503.
For the full story on the FDA website as well as retail locations that received these cheeses, click here.