October 15, 2018

Queseria Bendita Listeria Outbreak was Shop’s Second in 5 Years

Queseria Bendita Listeria LawsuitYakima’s Queseria Bendita “Blessed Cheesemaker” shop made Latin-style Queso Fresco, Panela, Requeson, Cotija fresh soft cheese products and sour cream that were sold on-site and in about 100 Hispanic grocery stores and other outlets in Washington and Oregon. Every one of those products was recalled last month after the Washington State Department of Health and two federal agencies associated the shop’s cheeses with an outbreak that included one Listeria death.

Two other people also were confirmed as case patients in the outbreak, which happened weeks before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could determine what food had caused such horrible illnesses. The three cases occurred in King, Pierce and Yakima counties; the death was in Pierce County. The outbreak marks the second time since 2010 that cheese from Queseria Bendita was associated with cases of listeriosis. In the most recent outbreak, detection of Listeria germs inside the shop were analyzed to be of the same genetic strain found in case patients.

Queseria Bendita in Yakima, Washington, had stopped producing cheese as of January 16. That was the day Washington health authorities joined the FDA and CDC in publicly announcing the Listeria outbreak was “linked” to the shop’s Latin-style soft cheese. The recalled products have a shelf life of up to 90 days, so it is possible some of the items remain in home refrigerators. The last date of distribution of the recalled Queseria Bendita cheese is January 15, 2015.

Listeria lawyers who represent victims of food poisoning outbreaks are aware that Dr. Scott Lindquist, Washington’s infectious disease epidemiologist, is on record as saying the strain of Listeria monocytogenes found in all three case patients is not a common strain and that the association with Queseria Bendita is not just a coincidence.

The symptoms of listeriosis, the illness caused by this bacteria, include high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, nausea, and diarrhea. The symptoms may not appear for up to 70 days after exposure. Pregnant women, who may only have a mild flu-like illness, can be seriously affected by this pathogenic bacteria. Listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, infection in the newborn, and premature labor.

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