Here’s what you need to know from Wednesday’s CDC and FDA updates on the listeria outbreak linked to El Abuelito Cheese’s Queso Fresco products.
Number of people sick
Another three people were found, putting the number at 10 — four in New York and Maryland each, one each in Virginia and Connecticut. But nine were hospitalized, a high percentage for listeria.
Listeria hits about 1,600 Americans each year, the CDC says, and kills about 260. The worst consequences usually hit senior citizens, children under 5 and people with damaged immune systems. Listeria can cause miscarriage and stillbirths in pregnant women. Symptoms in people who aren’t pregnant include confusion, poor balance, high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
What’s being done
El Abuelito Cheese has recalled all cheeses with sell by date of “032821” sold under the El Abuelito Cheese brand in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York; Rio Grande Food Products brand in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland; and Rio Lindo brand in North Carolina and Maryland.
That includes El Abuelito Queso Fresco, 5-pound vacuum-packed; Queso Fresco Regular, 12-ounce packages; Queso Fresco Promoción, 10-ounce packages; Queso Fresco de Hoja, 12-ounce packages; and Questo Fresco Guatemala, 12-ounce packages.
Rio Grande Food Products Chirilagua Queso de Hacienda; Queso Fresco Campestre con Hoja; Queso Fresco Campestre Artesanal; Queso Fresco con Hoja; Queso Fresco Yorito; Queso Fresco Olancho; Cuajada Fresca Guatemalteca; Cuajada Fresca Hondureña; and Cuajada Fresca Salvadoreña.
Rio Lindo Queso Fresco Mexicano; Queso Fresco Hondureño; and Queso Fresco Salvadoreño.
What consumers should do
Toss out the cheeses or return them to the stores for a full refund.
Clean any surfaces that might have touched the cheeses. That includes the refrigerator and containers. Wash any removable parts with hot, soapy water by hand or if, they’re dishwasher-safe, use the dishwasher.