April 11, 2024

Listeria Outbreaks Caused By Cheese

Since 2000, there have been at least seven Listeria outbreaks caused by tainted cheese, but that number soon could be eight. Last week, New Jersey health officials announced a recall of several kinds of cheese produced by El Ranchero del Sur LLC after a pregnant woman who ate the cheese contracted listeriosis.

Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of Listeria  monocytogenes in a sample of Los Corrales Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese and Banana Leaf code dated 03/16/12. Health officials in New Jersey are warning consumers not to eat cheeses from El Ranchero del Sur until further notice.

The South River, New Jersey based company primarily distributes its cheese to Mexican and Latin American grocery stores under the name brands El Ranchero, Los Corrales, and Carnes Don Beto with the plant number 34-0013669 marked on the label. All products weigh 14 ounces except the Queso Hebra Oaxaca String Cheese ball in 10 pound packages.

Listeria, which  can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, is especially dangerous to pregnant women. Because of their suppressed immune systems, pregnant women are 20 times more likely to contact Listeria infections, or listeriosis, than the general population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Although the mother may only experience mild flu-like symptoms, Listeria can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth or infection in newborns.

Since 2000, there have been at least seven Listeria outbreaks caused by tainted cheese. They are:

 Nov. 2000, North Carolina, queso fresco (unspecified) 12 illnesses, 12 hospitalizations

Feb. 2003, Texas  unpasteurized Queso Fresco 12 ill, 12 hospitalized, one death

June 2005, Texas, queso fresco (unspecified) 12 ill, 12 hospitalized

Aug. 2006, Oregon, pasteurized cheese 3 ill, 2 hospitalized, one death

Oct. 2008, Multistate, pasteurized Mexican cheese 8 ill, 4 hospitalized

Nov. 2009, Washington cheese (unspecified) 2 ill, 2 hospitalized

June 2009, Multisate,  Mexican style (unspecified) 8 ill, 3 hospitalized

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