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This Cheese May Be The Source of a Listeria Outbreak, FDA Says

A multi-state Listeria outbreak was recently linked to Hispanic-style cheeses by the CDC.

El Abuelito Cheese is recalling all Queso Fresco products, because they could be contaminated with Listeria, according to a recall announcement from the Food and Drug Administration.

A multi-state Listeria outbreak was recently linked to Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An investigation began after seven people were hospitalized with Listeria illnesses that are "closely related genetically," meaning the culprit is likely the same food. Of four people who were interviewed, three reported eating queso fresco recently. But there is still "not enough evidence to determine if this outbreak is linked to El Abuelito Queso Fresco" at this time, according to the FDA. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.)

The products identified in the recall notice have sell-by dates through March 28, 2021. They were distributed in supermarkets and retail and wholesale stores under the El Abuelito Cheese brand in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania; Rio Grande Food Products in Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia; and Rio Lindo in Maryland and North Carolina.

Production has paused as the FDA and El Abuelito continue to investigate the source of the problem. The Connecticut Department of Public Health is analyzing product samples from a store where a sick individual reported buying cheeses. "Sample analysis showed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in samples of El Abuelito Queso Fresco sold in 10-oz. packages," the FDA says.

If you do have any of the recalled cheeses in your fridge, the FDA urges you to not consume them. Instead, return them to your point of purchase. Symptoms of a Listeria infection include confusion, convulsions, diarrhea, fever, headache, loss of balance, and stiff neck. They may begin one to four weeks after eating contaminated food and can be treated with antibiotics. In pregnant women, flu-like symptoms could develop, which may lead to miscarriage, premature delivery, or stillbirth, according to the CDC.

Unfortunately, this isn't the only recall to be aware of on your next trip to the grocery store. Here are 8 Food Recalls You Need to Know About Now. And to get all of the latest food news delivered right to your email inbox every day, sign up for our newsletter! 

Amanda McDonald
Amanda is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That!. Read more