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News / Health / Health Wire

New listeria outbreak linked to recalled dairy products sickens one person in Washington

By Rosemary Montalvo, The News Tribune
Published: February 9, 2024, 7:31am

Rizo-Lopez Foods recalled over a dozen dairy products on Feb. 5 after an investigation found that a listeria outbreak was linked to their cotija cheese and queso fresco, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The listeria outbreak has led to 23 hospitalizations and two deaths, and a total 26 people have been infected with listeria across 11 states including one person in Washington, according to the CDC.

What is listeriosis?

Listeriosis is a deadly food-borne illness that is caused by eating food that is contaminated with the listeria bacteria.

“Listeria can also cause an intestinal illness that is usually mild. When listeria bacteria spread beyond the intestines, we call the infection invasive,” according to the CDC.

Listeria mainly affects adults over the age of 65 years old, people with a weakened immune system and pregnant women. Listeria can cause pregnancy loss, premature birth, or a life-threatening infection in their newborn.

Products recalled for listeria contamination

Rizo-Lopez Foods recalled all cheeses, crema and yogurt made in their facility located in Modesto, CA.

According to a press release from Rizo-Lopez Foods, the dairy products had been distributed around the country and sold at groceries stores including but not limited to, El Super, Cardenas Market, Northgate Gonzalez, Superior Groceries, El Rancho, Vallarta, Food City, La Michoacana, and Numero Uno Markets.

Rizo-Lopez Foods recalled over 60 of their dairy products from the following brands:

  • Campesino
  • Casa Cardenas
  • Don Francisco
  • Dos Ranchitos
  • El Huache
  • Food City
  • La Ordena
  • Rio Grande
  • Rizo Bros
  • San Carlos
  • Santa Maria
  • Tio Francisco
  • 365 Whole Foods Market

Visit the CDC website to see the full list of recalled products.

Symptoms of Listeria

Symptoms usually start within 2 weeks after eating food contaminated with listeria, but may start as early as the same day or as late as 10 weeks after.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and fatigue
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Seizures
  • Symptoms for pregnant people include:
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and fatigue

If you have eaten food that has been recalled and are experiencing any of the fevers linked to listeria, the CDC recommends reaching out to your healthcare provider right away.

What to do to prevent listeria infection

Listeria can easily contaminate other food and any counter space that it touches, so the CDC recommends that you do the following to prevent the spread of infection:

  • Do not eat any recalled cheeses or dairy products and throw them away or return them to where you bought them.
  • Clean the refrigerator, containers, and surfaces that may have touched the recalled products since listeria can survive in the refrigerator and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.