The FDA has suspended the food facility registration of Roos Foods Inc. of Kenton, Delaware today after the FDA found there was a “reasonable probability of food manufactured, processed, packed, or held by Roos Foods causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans.” Cheese and other products made by Roos Foods are linked to a Listeria outbreak that has sickened at least seven people in Maryland and killed one person in California.
The investigation by the FDA, CDC, and state and local authorities found that the cheese was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. This is only the second time since 2011 that the FDA has used its power to close a facility for producing a contaminated product.
Inspections by authorities found that the roof was leaking so badly that water was raining down into the cheese processing room, into equipment and storage tanks. Standing water was on the floor throughout the cheese curd processing room. Metal roof, the ceiling, and metal supports were rusted and flaking. Food residue was found on equipment after it was cleaned. Openings to milk storage tanks were not capped to prevent contamination. Floors, walls, and equipment were deteriorated and in bad repair.
The outbreak sickened one person in California, who died, and seven people in Maryland. Dates of illness range from August 1, 2013 to November 27, 2013. Seven of the eight ill persons were hospitalized. Five of the illnesses was related to a pregnancy. One newborn was sickened. All of the patients are Hispanic.
The recall of soft cheeses, originally issued on February 23 and 25, 2014, was updated and expanded on March 1, 2014 to include sour cream and hard cheeses as well. If you purchased any of the recalled products, do not eat them. Return them to the place of purchase or discard them in sealed containers.
If you did have any of these products in your home, sanitize your refrigerator and food preparation surfaces with a diluted bleach solution. Unfortunately, Listeria monocytogenes can grow at refrigerator temperatures, so any possible cross-contamination is dangerous.
If you ate any of the recalled product, monitor yourself for the symptoms of listeriosis for the next 70 days. Those symptoms include a flu-like illness, muscle aches, upset stomach, diarrhea, stiff neck, headache, loss of balance, and confusion. Pregnant women may only have flu-like symptoms, but listeriosis can cause stillbirth and miscarriage. If you do develop any of these symptoms, please see your doctor and tell her you ate some of the recalled product.