May 26, 2024

Deadly Rizo-Lopez Listeria Outbreak Ends With 26 Sick, 2 Dead

The deadly Rizo-Lopez Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has ended with 26 people sick in 11 states, 23 hospitalizations, and two deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many secondary recalls were issued in the wake of this outbreak that included crema, yogurt, meal kits, sandwiches, and meals.

Deadly Rizo-Lopez Listeria Outbreak Ends With 26 Sick, 2 Dead

The case count by state was: Arizona (4), California (8), Colorado (4), Florida (1), Georgia (1), Nevada (1), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Tennessee (2), Texas (2), and Washington (1). The patient age range is from less than one to 88 years. Illness onset dates range from June 15, 2014 to December 10, 2023. The people who died lived in California and Texas. Illness onset dates ranged from June 15, 2014 to December 10, 2023. And in this outbreak, two people got sick during pregnancy and one person suffered a pregnancy loss.

Epidemiologic and laboratory data showed that queso fresco and cotija cheese made by Rizo-Lopez Foods made people sick. State and local public health officials interviewed people about the foods they ate the month before they got sick. Of the 22 people interviewed, 16, or 73%, said they ate queso fresco, cotija, or other similar cheeses. Four people reported eating brands by Rizo Lopez.

Whole genome sequencing showed that bacteria from patient isolates from 2014 to the prevent were closely related genetically, which means they likely got sick from eating the same food. And, in January 2024, the Hawaii State Department of Health’s Food and Drug Brand collected a sample of aged cotija cheese made by Rizo-Lopez during routine sampling. Testing found the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes in that product.

The FDA then conducted testing at the Rizo-Lopez facility and collected food and environmental samples. The outbreak strain was found in two environmental samples collected at that facility.

Please look at the list of recalled products carefully. If you have any in your home, throw them away, then clean your fridge or freezer with a mild bleach solution to kill pathogens. If you ate any of the products on the recall list and have been ill with the symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning, see your doctor. You may be part of this outbreak.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a food poisoning infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors, and families in wrongful death cases.


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