The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is advising consumers that El Abuelito Cheese of Paterson, NJ is recalling all Queso Fresco (fresh, soft cheese) products, because of potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination.
As of February 11, 2021, the CDC reports seven people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes from four states. To date, no cases have been identified in Rhode Island.
All Queso Fresco products with sell by dates through March 28, 2021 have been recalled. The products are sold as El Abuelito Cheese brand, distributed in CT, NJ, PA, NY; Rio Grande Food Products brand, distributed in VA, NC, MD; and Rio Lindo distributed in NC and MD. The products were distributed through Feb 16, 2021 and were available in supermarkets, wholesale, and retails stores. The following products being recalled were produced at Plant #34-12179 in the following forms:
El Abuelito Cheese: • Queso Fresco Regular, 12 oz., Plastic Container, 673130100003 • Queso Fresco Promoción, 10 oz., Plastic Container, 673130100078 • Queso Fresco de Hoja, 12 oz., Plastic Container, 673130100065 • Queso Fresco, 5 Lb., Vacuum Packed, 673130100058 • Queso Fresco Guatemala, 12 oz., Plastic Container, 673130100027
Rio Grande Food Products, Inc.: • Chirilagua Queso de Hacienda, 12 oz., Plastic Container, 738529005571 • Queso Fresco Campestre con Hoja, 14 oz., Plastic Container, 812324031161 • Queso Fresco Campestre Artesanal, 14 oz., Plastic Container, 738529002518 • Queso Fresco con Hoja, 14 oz., Plastic Container, 738529004581 • Queso Fresco Yorito, 12 oz., Plastic Container, 738529005564 • Queso Fresco Olancho, 14 oz., Plastic Container, 812324031222 • Cuajada Fresca Guatemalteca, 12 oz., Plastic Container, 738529001276 • Cuajada Fresca Hondureña, 12 oz., Plastic Container, 738529001269 • Cuajada Fresca Salvadoreña, 12 oz., Plastic Container, 738529001252
Rio Lindo: • Queso Fresco Mexicano, 12 oz., Plastic Container, 718122088587 • Queso Fresco Hondureño, 12 oz., Plastic Container, 718122088591 • Queso Fresco Salvadoreño, 12 oz., Plastic Container, 718122088607
El Abuelito has stopped the production and distribution of the product as FDA and El Abuelito continue to investigate what caused the problem. Samples of El Abuelito Queso Fresco are being analyzed for the presence of the same Listeria monocytogenes that caused illness in people. These analyses are still ongoing. There is not enough evidence to determine if this outbreak is linked to El Abuelito Queso Fresco.
Listeria Monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
Call your healthcare provider if you have any symptoms (high fever, headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea) of infection with Listeria after eating Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses.
Consumers who have purchased the stated Queso Fresco products are urged not to consume and to return product to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact directly El Abuelito Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST at (973) 345-3503. This press release is an update to the February 18 announcement listed in the link below regarding the FDA outbreak investigation.