December 9, 2016

Owner of Oasis Cheese Sentenced to Prison

The owner of Oasis Brands, Inc., a Florida cheese company, was sentenced to 15 months in prison on November 15, 2016. Christian Rivas was sent to prison for distributing contaminated cheese that was associated with a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in 2014 that sickened five people in four states. U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. sentenced Mr. Rivas with "the intent to defraud and mislead, delivered cheese processed and packed at the Oasis facility into interstate commerce that was “adulterated . . . in that it contained lysteria monocytogenes (“listeria”) a deleterious substance, which may render the food injurious to health." The outbreak investigation and whole genome sequencing of the Listeria monocytogenes isolated from the recalled Oasis quesito casero cheese found … [Read more...]

Dairy Products are Most Common Source of Listeria Outbreaks

Dairy products were the most common source of Listeria outbreaks that occurred between 1998 and 2012, according to a new federal study by the Food Safety Analytics Collaboration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The study was conducted to provide information that can be used to develop better food poisoning prevention measures. Of the 952 outbreaks attributed to one pathogen during the 14-year study period, 24 were Listeria outbreaks. Dairy products were the source of half them. Turkey was the source of four; pork and sprouts each caused two; and beef, chicken, fruit and row crop vegetables each caused one. The fruit outbreak, the cantaloupe Listeria outbreak of 2011, sickened 147 … [Read more...]

Oasis Cheese Listeria Outbreak Sickened Five in 2014

Listeria outbreaks are often linked to soft cheese, usually made by small facilities. The 2014 outbreak associated with Oasis Brands soft cheeses and the current outbreak linked to Queseria Bendita soft cheeses are two cases in point. There are several reasons for these outbreaks: small vendors may not have the experience or training to understand the risks inherent in making their product. These cheeses have higher pH than aged cheese and a high moisture content, which makes them quite susceptible to contamination. And third, Listeria monocytogenes bacteria is everywhere and it is hardy, growing at refrigerator temperatures and quite difficult to kill. The outbreak in 2014 was never definitely linked to Oasis brand cheeses, but Listeria strains isolated from quesito casero cheese … [Read more...]

Listeria Outbreak Linked to Oasis Cheese Ends

A Listeria outbreak linked to soft cheeses sold under the brand names Oasis, Lacteos Santa Martha and  Hondu Crema has ended after sickening five people in four states, one of whom died, according to a final report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There was one illness reported in each of the following states: Georgia, New York, and Texas and two cases reported in Tennessee. The fatality occurred in Tennessee. All of those sickened were Hispanic, three of the cases were related to a pregnancy, one case was diagnosed in a newborn baby. Because their immune systems are weakened, pregnant women are at special risk for Listeria which can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and illness in newborn babies. Because of the likelihood that they will … [Read more...]

Listeria Risk 24 Times Greater for Hispanic Pregnant Women

Two Listeria outbreaks this year illustrate how badly the odds are stacked against Hispanic pregnant women when it comes to Listeria.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant Hispanic women are 24 times more likely than the general population to get Listeria poisoning. A major factor in the increased risk is the consumption of queso fresco and other soft cheeses. All of the case patients in the two multistate Listeria outbreaks linked to soft-cheeses this year were Hispanic. Some of them were pregnant women. Some were newborns. And some of them died. Because their immune systems are suppressed, all pregnant women are at special risk for Listeria, which can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and listeriosis in newborns. But the risk is … [Read more...]

Two 2014 Deadly Listeria Outbreaks Linked to Soft Cheeses

Listeria in soft cheese has been the source of two deadly multistate food poisoning outbreaks so far this year. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a three-state outbreak linked to Oasis cheeses that killed one person and sickened two others.  And, in March, an outbreak linked to Roos Cheese sickened eight people in Maryland and California, killing one of them. Soft cheeses, such as queso fresco, are often associated with Listeria monocytogenes which can grow in at room temperature and in refrigerator temperatures. Pregnant women are at special risk for Listeria, which can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and listeriosis in newborns. In the Oasis outbreak, one illness was related to a pregnancy and was diagnosed in a newborn. The … [Read more...]

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