February 25, 2021

CDC: Do Not Eat El Abuelito Cheese For Possible Listeria Contamination

The CDC is joining the FDA in warning the public: do not eat El Abuelito cheese because it may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The cheese is linked, through whole genome sequencing testing, to the outbreak strain of Listeria that has sickened ten people in four states. Earlier this month Connecticut officials found the outbreak strain of Listeria in samples of El Abuelito queso fresco cheese that was taken from a store where an ill person bought that cheese. The government says that other El Abuelito cheeses that were made or handled in the same facility as the queso fresco cheese have not been recalled, but officials are concerned that they may be contaminated and could make people sick. Investigators are trying to determine whether or not all cheese products … [Read more...]

FDA Warns Against All El Abuelito Cheese In Listeria Outbreak Investigation

The FDA warns against all El Abuelito cheese in the most current Listeria monocytogenes outbreak investigation notice that was posted today. The notice states, "Out of an abundance of caution, and due to the severity of Listeria infection, the FDA is expanding its warning to include all El Abuelito brand cheeses until more information is known. According to the firm’s website, this includes queso fresco, Oaxaca cheese, cotija cheese, and crema." Whole genome sequencing has linked El Abuelito queso fresco cheese to the outbreak. On February 19, 2021, tests conducted by the Connecticut State Laboratory determined that the Listeria monocytogenes found in a sample of the cheese purchased at a grocery store in that state is a match to the outbreak strain. El Abuelito Cheese recalled … [Read more...]

Dietary Supplement Executive Sentenced For Fraudulent Sales

A dietary supplement executive has been sentenced to prison in a Texas federal court for his role in fraudulently seeing popular workout supplements, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Former S.K. Laboratories Vice President Sitesh Patel of Irvine, California, was sentenced to 41 months imprisonment and one year of supervised release by U.S. District Juge Sam A. Lindsay. According to documents that were filed intros case, Patel "Patel played a key role in developing and manufacturing the popular workout and weight loss supplements known as Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, which were distributed by Dallas-based USPlabs." Patel and several co-defendants admitted that they imported substances "with false and misleading labeling to avoid law enforcement and regulatory agency … [Read more...]

El Abuelito Cheese Listeria Sample Matches Outbreak Strain

The El Abuelito cheese Listeria monocytogenes sample matches the outbreak strain, according to a notice from the FDA. The Connecticut Department of Public Health collected product samples of that cheese where a sick person who lives in that state bought cheeses. Sample analysis found the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in samples of El Abuelito Queso Fresco cheese that was sold in 10 ounce packages, marked as Lot A027 with an expiration date of 02/26/2021. On February 19, 2021, whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis that was conducted by the Connecticut State Laboratory found that the Listeria monocytogenes found in the samples is a match to the outbreak strain. On February 19, 2021, El Abuelito Cheese of Paterson, New Jersey recalled all Queso Fresco products with "sell by" … [Read more...]

Canada Salmonella Egg Outbreak Sickens 57 in Two Provinces

A Canada Salmonella egg outbreak has sickened at least 57 people in two provinces in that country, according to an outbreak investigation notice posted by Public Health Canada. Food recall warnings were issued for eggs sold in those provinces between October and December 2020. All of those eggs are past their use by dates, but more sources could be identified as the investigation processes. The patient case count by province is: Newfoundland and aerator (25) and Nova Scotia (32). Illness onset dates range from late October 2020 and late January 2021. Nineteen patients have been hospitalized because they are so sick, which is a high percentage for a Salmonella outbreak. The patient age range is between 2 and 98 years of age. Investigators have found that exposure to eggs is the … [Read more...]

CDC Updates Hispanic Style Cheese Listeria Outbreak Investigation

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their Hispanic style cheese Listeria outbreak investigation with new information from the Connecticut Department of Health. On February 16, 2021, Connecticut officials found Listeria in samples of El Albuelito queso fresco cheese that was collected from a store where a patient diagnosed with listeriosis shopped. Investigators are working to confirmed that the Listeria bacteria found in this queso fresco cheese is the same pathogen that is making people sick. They are using  whole genome sequencing (WGS) that maps the DNA of the bacteria. The results should be known soon. The case count still stands at seven sick. Those people live in Maryland (4), Connecticut (1), New York (1), and Virginia (1). All seven patients … [Read more...]

El Abuelito Cheese Listeria Warning Letter Sent by FDA in June 2020

An El Abuelito Cheese Listeria warning letter was sent to the company by the FDA in June, 2020. This is the brand that may be associated with the current Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Hispanic-style soft and fresh cheeses that has sickened seven people in four states, according to testing conducted by the Connecticut Department of Health. The letter states that after an FDA inspection, a Form FDA-483 was issued that found the facility was not in compliance with the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation (CGMP & PC). Government officials found "serious violations" of the CGMP & PC rule, according to the El Abuelito Cheese Listeria warning letter, because the owner, operator, or agent in … [Read more...]

Unsanitary Conditions of Soft Cheese Making Linked to Listeria Outbreaks

In the wake of the deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that is linked to Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses, it's worth looking at a 2018 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that examined listeriosis outbreaks associated with soft cheeses from 1998 to 2014. The study, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, showed that unsanitary conditions of soft cheese making was linked to listeriosis outbreaks. The number of listeriosis outbreaks associated with cheese produced under unsanitary conditions has increased since 2006. Moreover, two-thirds of those outbreaks were linked to "Latin-style soft cheese," accounting for 98, or 54%, of the cases of listeriosis during that time frame. FDA inspections of cheese-making facilities associated with outbreaks … [Read more...]

Campylobacter Are Exchanging Genetic Material to Become More Virulent

New research conducted at North Carolina State University reveals that two of the most common strains of Campylobacter are exchanging genetic material. That means they are producing more infectious and antibiotic-resistant strains. And that is bad news for consumers, since those strains are common in the poultry industry. In 2014, Consumer Reports conducted research on chicken breasts that they purchased in ordinary grocery stores. They found that potentially harmful bacteria, including Campylobacter and Salmonella, was present in almost all of the chicken, including organic brands.  In fact, Campylobacter was found on 43% of the samples. Lead author on the study, Maj. Dawn Hull, Army veterinarian and current Ph.D. student at NC State, said in a statement, "There are two strains … [Read more...]

Four Sick in Maryland’s Soft Cheese Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak

Four people are sick in Maryland's soft cheese Listeria monocytogenes outbreak announced late last week by the FDA and the CDC. That state has the most patients sickened in the current outbreak. The other states involved in this outbreak have one person sick in each.   The outbreak is potentially linked to Hispanic-style soft and fresh cheeses, according to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control. An investigation has been launched and officials are collecting samples of cheese from stores where ill persons shopped before they got sick. Of four people who have been interviewed, three said they ate at least one type of Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheese, and al three said they ate queso fresco. These types of cheeses have a history of being linked to … [Read more...]

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