The FDA has announced a nationwide mexican soft cheese recall for Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese and Queso Cotija Molido Mexican style grated cheese manufactured by Peregrina Cheese Corp. The Mexican cheese could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which could cause a serious and potentially life-threatening Listeriosis poisoning.
Although no illnesses have been reported to date, the FDA has detected the Listeria bacteria in some samples of cheese they tested, leading to the recall of three lots of soft cheese which were distributed in New York City and Pennsylvania in early February 2009.
The Listeria recall applies to the following products:
- Two lots of Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese sold in 14-ounce packages wrapped in foil with lot number 4469 or 4477 on a white sticker on each package. The UPC number is 8 17424 00024 6 and the Plant # is 36-8431.
- One lot of Queso Cotija Molido Cheese sold in 15-ounce bags made of clear plastic marked with UPC number 8 17424 00027 7 and Plant # 36-1388. There are no production dates or lot numbers.
The potentially contaminated cheese was distributed to retail stores in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan, as well as the Pennsylvania towns of Scranton and Hazelton.
Listeriosis is a type of food poisoning that is caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. People at high risk for Listeriosis are the elderly, newborns, pregnant women and immunocompromised patients. Symptoms could include fever, diarrhea, nausea, muscle ache, headaches, stiff neck and convulsions.
Although most healthy adults recover within a short amount of time, in severe cases the bacteria may enter the nervous system via the blood stream, causing potentially life-threatening illness. Pregnant women with Listeriosis may suffer miscarriages, premature deliveries, stillbirths or infections in their newborns.
During the Summer of 1985, an outbreak of Listeriosis poisoning in California was linked to similar queso fresco and cotija types of Mexican-style soft cheese sold by Jalisco Products, Inc. At least 142 cases of illness were reported in that outbreak, with 47 deaths. Among the deaths were 19 stillbirths and 10 infant deaths.