September 25, 2016

Did You Have a Listeria Infection in the Last Five Years?

A strange outbreak was announced this month by the FDA and CDC. At least 22 people were sick with five rare and very similar strains of Listeria monocytogenes; 22 of them were hospitalized. That's not uncommon, but here's the weird part: those illnesses began in 2010. Government officials investigated, and found that 83% of those patients reported eating soft cheeses in the month before they got sick. Further investigation found that four of seven ill people specified a brand of soft cheese distributed by Karoun Dairies of San Fernando, California. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis of two environmental samples collected by the FDA showed Listeria monocytogenes bacteria that is "highly related" to the outbreak strains found in sick people. Those samples were collected at Central … [Read more...]

Queseria Bendita Cheese Listeria Outbreak Highlights Past Recalls

The current outbreak of listeriosis linked to recalled Queseria Bendita soft cheeses is a reminder that these types of foods have often been recalled for Listeria monocytogenes contamination in the past. In the current outbreak, three people in Washington state have been sickened and one person has died. Over the past three years, there have been at least 25 recalls of soft cheese for Listeria monocytogenes in the U.S. and 9 recalls in Canada for the same reason. And there have been recalls of hard cheeses for Listeria too. Cheese is particularly vulnerable to Listeria contamination for a few reasons. Any cheese, whether hard or soft, made with raw or unpasteurized milk has a much higher risk of contamination, since Listeria bacteria are present in the farm environment. In fact, … [Read more...]

Queseria Bendita Listeria Outbreak: Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy

The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to recalled Queseria Bendita soft cheeses and sour cream is a reminder to pregnant women that they should avoid certain foods. One pregnant woman in Washington state was sickened in this outbreak. Some foods are riskier than others because they are more likely to contain pathogenic bacteria, especially Listeria, that can cause serious complications. The outbreak linked to Queseria Bendita Panela, Queso Fresco, Cotija, and Requeson cheeses has sickened three people and killed one person. Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented many clients sickened by this pathogenic bacteria, said, "It is always tragic when people are sickened and killed by contaminated food. Processors have a legal responsibility to make sure the foods they sell are … [Read more...]

Roos Foods Queso Listeria Threat Was Halted by Crucial Findings

Roos Foods of Kenton, Delaware, lost its FDA approval to sell soft cheese and other products after Queso Fresco was linked to a deadly Listeria outbreak in 2013 that harmed eight people, including three babies. The queso fresco Listeria death occurred in California while all other illnesses were among Hispanics in Maryland. After inspection in early 2014, federal officials cited gaping roof leaks, rusting surfaces and dirty equipment among the reasons for the action. They reported detecting "widespread and persistent" Listeria contamination in the processing facility. Health officials in Maryland and Virginia started seeing the connection to Roos months after people fell ill from August through November, 2013. On February 19, 2014, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene … [Read more...]

How Does Listeria Get into Soft Cheeses?

The current Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to recalled Queseria Bendita soft cheeses (and sour cream) has sickened three people and killed one person in Washington state. Soft cheeses are not recommended as part of a pregnancy diet, along with deli meats and unpasteurized milk for this reason. But why are soft cheeses a Listeria risk? First of all, any soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk is a risky food. Raw milk can, and does, contain many pathogenic bacteria from E. coli to Campylobacter to Listeria monocytogenes. The FDA developed a draft assessment on the risk of consumers contracting listeriosis from soft cheeses in 2013. They found that soft cheese made from unpasteurized milk has a risk of containing Listeria bacteria 50 to 160 mites higher than soft cheeses made … [Read more...]

Listeria Outbreak Linked to Recalled Queseria Bendita Cheese

A Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Queseria Bendita cheese of Yakima, Washington has sickened at least three people. One person has died, and two people have been hospitalized in this outbreak. Those sickened consumed soft cheeses made by Queseria Bendita; those cheeses have been recalled. The cheeses were distributed to Hispanic grocery stores in Washington and Oregon. Queseria Bendita also sold products from its on-site store in Yakima. The cheeses have been recalled as a result of an investigation and samples taken by the FDA. The company has agreed to cease production and distribution of all of its products. The recalled products are Panela cheese in 1 pound packages, Queso Fresco in 1 pound and 3 pound packages, Requeson cheese in 1 pound packages, and Cotija … [Read more...]

Three in Tulare County, CA Sick with Salmonella from Cheese

According to the Tulare County Public Health Department's Facebook page, three people in that county in Califonria have become ill with Salmonella from eating cheese purchased from an unlicensed cheese maker. A vendor in Woodlake is apparently selling these cheeses door-to-door. Leftover cheese was tested and was contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. The vendor has not been identified and may still be selling cheese. It is a violation of the California Retail Food Code to sell food without a permit, and a violation to make cheese in with no permit. The types of cheeses that may be contaminated are queso fresco, panela, queso seco, asadero, queso Oaxaca, queso Cotija, and crema. The products may be made with unpasteurized, or raw milk, that is often contaminated with pathogenic … [Read more...]

Listeria in Soft Cheese Sickens 3, Kills 1

Listeria in Oasis brand soft cheese has killed one person and sickened two others, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oasis issued an August 4 recall for quesito casero,  an October 6 recall for cuajada en hoja, and an October 16 recall for various cheeses sold under the Lacteos Santa Martha brand. Consumers who have purchased these cheeses should not eat them as they risk serious illness or death if they do. Health officials used whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to compare the strains of the Listeria monocytogenes  isolated from the recalled quesito casero cheese and the strain isolated from the three case patients and found that they were highly related. The three cases were reported from three states: … [Read more...]

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