Recall expanded to include all El Abuelito Cheeses for Listeria monocytogenes

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El Abuelito Cheese of Paterson, NJ has expanded its original recall of Feb. 19,  recalling all Queso Fresco (Fresh, soft cheese), Quesillo (Oaxaca, string cheese), and Requeson (Ricotta) products, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

All Queso Fresco products with sell-by dates through 032821; all Quesillo (Oaxaca, string cheese) products with sell-by dates through 041621; and all Requeson (Ricotta) products with sell-by dates through 031421 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; Rio Lindo distributed in NC and MD and Viejito, El Paisano, El Sabrosito, La Cima, Quesos Finos, San Carlos, and Ideal Brands.

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 form. Retailers may have repackaged the bulk Quesillo into smaller containers and sold this repackage product to consumers. This repackaged product may not bear the original labeling and product information as described below.

Quesillo
Brand Product Name Size Container Type UPC Code
El Abuelito Cheese Quesillo Abuelito 12oz Vacuum Pack 673130200000
Quesillo Abuelito 5Lbs Vacuum Bag Loose Bag 673130500001
Quesillo Abuelito 10Lbs Vacuum Bag Loose Bag 673130600008
El Viejito El Viejito 10Lbs Vacuum Bag Loose Bag 718122180950
El Paisano El Paisano 5Lbs Vacuum Bag 799456415468
El Paisano 10Lbs Vacuum Bag 799456415482
El Sabrosito El Sabrosito 10Lbs Vacuum Bag 749390337586
La Cima La Cima 5Lbs Vacuum Bag 072632891653
Quesos Finos Quesos Finos 5Lbs Vacuum Bag 851800004145
San Carlos San Carlos 14Lbs Loose Bag 814920000039
Ideal Ideal 5Lbs Vacuum Bag 610563082674
Ideal 10Lbs Vacuum Bag 897930001951
 

Requeson/Ricotta

Brand Product Name Size Container Type UPC Code
El Abuelito Cheese, Inc. El Abuelito Requeson Ricotta 12oz Clam Shell Container 673130300014
El Abuelito Requeson Ricotta – Promocion $3.99 12oz. Clam Shell Container 673130300014
El Viejito El Viejito Requeson/Ricotta 12oz. Clam Shell Container 718122180912

As of February 27, 2021, the CDC reports ten people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes from four states.

About Listeria infections

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any recalled product and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop.

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

El Abuelito has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and El Abuelito continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.

As part of this outbreak investigation, the Connecticut Department of Public Health collected product samples of El Abuelito-brand Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses from a store where a sick person bought cheeses. On 2/19/2021, Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis conducted by the Connecticut State Laboratory determined that the Listeria monocytogenes found in the samples is a match to the outbreak strain.

Consumers who have purchased the stated Queso Fresco, Quesillo (Oaxaca, string cheese), and Requeson (Ricotta) products are urged not to consume and to return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund. FDA recommends that anyone who purchased or received any El Abuelito brand Quesillo, Requeson, or recalled Queso Fresco cheeses use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with these products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces. Consumers with questions may contact 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.

RETAIL DISTRIBUTION FOR El ABUELITO BRAND QUESO FRESCO, REQUESON, AND QUESILLO PRODUCTS

FDA has reason to believe that the following retail locations received the El Abuelito Brand Queso Fresco (Fresh, soft cheese) , Quesillo (Oaxaca, string cheese), and Requeson (Ricotta) that were included in the recall by El Abuelito. These cheese products may have been cut or repacked from their original packaging. This list may not include all retail establishments that have received the recalled product or may include retail establishments that did not actually receive the recalled product. Therefore, it is important that you use the product-specific identification information, available in addition to this list of retail stores (link to this press release), when you check the food you have to see if it has been recalled.

RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS THAT RECEIVED EL ABUELITO BRAND QUESO FRESCO, QUESILLO, and REQUESON (link pdf list here)

Original Press Release

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