Listeria Contamination Leads to Del Bueno Cheese Shutdown

Federal health regulators have put in place a permanent injunction against Del Bueno, which prevents the company from making any cheese products until it can prove that it’s food is safe.¬†

The FDA entered into a consent decree with Del Bueno last week, following a series of recalls and warning letters over its cheese products. In several cases the cheese had to be recalled after testing positive for listeria.

Del Bueno’s owner, Jesus Rodriguez, agreed to the terms laid down by U.S. District Judge Lonny R. Suko in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington on April 3. The company will be unable to distribute or process food until it can prove to the FDA that it has developed a program to keep listeria out of its cheese.

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The FDA indicates it has repeatedly advised Rodriguez about unsanitary conditions in his facility. Along with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, FDA inspectors have repeatedly found numerous deficiencies at the Del Bueno processing facility.

Del Bueno cheese listeria was linked to at least one case of food poisoning caused by listeria in 2010, the FDA says.

Listeria illnesses pose a particular risk for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. For pregnant women, illness from Listeria bacteria can cause miscarriages and still births.

Blood tests are usually required to diagnose listeriosis, which can be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms of listeriosis include muscle aches, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, severe headaches and fever. If the bacteria spreads from the intestines to the bloodstream and nervous system, it could cause meningitis and other complications.

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