October 19, 2021

El Abuelito Cheeses Were More Widely Distributed Than First Thought

UPDATE 3/9/21: El Abuelito cheeses were also sold in Rhode Island. The FDA has updated its investigation into the deadly multistate Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that is linked to recalled El Abuelito queso fresco and has revealed that El Abuelito cheeses were more widely distributed than first thought. The case count still stands at 11 sick, with 10 hospitalized and one death. Four patients were from Maryland and four from New York, with one from Connecticut and two from Virginia.

El Abuelito Cheeses Were More Widely Distributed Than First Thought

The recalls are also unchanged. The first recall, issued on February 19, 2021, after whole genome sequencing testing conducted by the state of Connecticut found the outbreak strain in a sample of El Abuelito queso fresco, was for El Abuelito Queso Fresco as well as the brands Rio Grande and Rio Lindo queso fresco.

The second recall, issued on February 27, 2021, was an expansion and included El Abuelito Quesillo (Oaxaca and string cheese) and Requeson (ricotta) cheeses that were handled or manufactured in the same facility as the queso fresco products linked to the outbreak. Brand names of the cheeses included in that recall are Viejito, El Paisano, El Sabrosito, La Cima, Quesos Finos, San Carlos, and Ideal. That recall was missing information about distribution. The FDA has now updated that information.

The fifteen states added to the recall list are Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,  Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. The FDA has issued a retail distribution list for where the recalled Quesillo and Requeson cheeses were sold, although they have posted a disclaimer that these cheeses may have been sold in more states, and may not have been sold in the stores listed.

That seven page retail distribution list for the Quesillo and Requeson cheeses includes these states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. States with confirmed distribution of any El Abuelito recalled cheeses include Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Since the distribution lists have so many qualifiers, it’s best that you identify the recalled products by closely paying attention to the brands, product names, UPC numbers, and expiration dates listed in the recall notices. You can also ask your grocer if he or she carried any El Abuelito products. If they don’t know, do not buy the cheese, and discard any that you may have purchased. Then clean out your refrigerator to kill any remaining bacteria.

Symptoms of listeriosis, the illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes, can take up to 70 days to appear. Those symptoms include a high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea. Pregnant women may only feel as though they have a mild case of the flu, but this infection can cause miscarriage and stillbirth. If you have eaten any of the recalled cheeses and feel sick, see your doctor.

The Food Poisoning Attorneys At Pritzker Hageman 1-888-377-8900

If you or a loved one have been sickened with a Listeria monocytogenes infection after eating recalled El Abuelito cheese, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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