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Listeria Contamination: 13 Dairy Brands Recall Products

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Listeria Contamination: 13 Dairy Brands Recall Products

In a concerning turn of events, Rizo-López Foods, Inc. (RLF), a major dairy producer, has issued a voluntary recall of select dairy products due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The recall, which affects a wide array of dairy items including cheeses, yogurts, and crema, has prompted significant health concerns and underscores the importance of food safety measures.

Listeria Contamination
The FDA notes that the 2024 outbreak is merely part of an ongoing outbreak that dates back a decade. Photo courtesy of Rizo-López Foods Inc.

The affected products, marketed under several brand names including Tio Francisco, Don Francisco, Rizo Bros, Rio Grande, and others, were distributed nationwide, spanning various grocery stores such as Whole Foods Market, El Super, Cardenas Market, and more. Customers are urged to check their refrigerators and freezers for any of the recalled items and dispose of them immediately, irrespective of the sell-by date.

The announcement of the recall comes amidst an ongoing investigation by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) into a Listeria outbreak spanning 11 states thus far. Listeriosis, the infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes, can lead to a range of symptoms including fever, muscle aches, and fatigue, with more severe cases manifesting symptoms such as headaches, confusion, and seizures. Particularly vulnerable demographics include individuals aged 65 and older, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems.

The Tragic Incident: Listeria Contamination

Tragically, the outbreak has already claimed two lives and resulted in the hospitalization of 23 individuals. The gravity of the situation is compounded by the fact that Listeria contamination can have severe consequences, posing a risk of severe illness or death to newborns. Pregnant women, in particular, are at a heightened risk, being 10 times more likely to acquire a Listeria infection according to the CDC. Infection during pregnancy can result in fetal loss in about 20% of cases and newborn death in 3% of cases.

This latest recall follows a decade-long struggle with Listeria outbreaks linked to Rizo-López Foods products, with previous investigations in 2017 and 2021 failing to identify a specific brand until now. The CDC’s identification of Rizo Bros Aged Cotija cheese as the source of the bacterium responsible for prior illnesses underscores the challenges in tracking and containing such outbreaks.

Listeria contamination presents a significant public health concern, being the third leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States according to the CDC. Given its ability to survive refrigeration and its potential to spread to other foods and surfaces, thorough cleaning of affected areas is imperative to prevent further transmission.

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RLF has taken swift action in response to the recall, halting all production and distribution of the implicated products. Customers with inquiries or concerns are encouraged to contact Rizo-López Foods, Inc. directly for assistance.

In conclusion, the recall of dairy products from 13 different brands due to Listeria contamination serves as a stark reminder of the importance of rigorous food safety protocols in the production and distribution of consumable goods. As authorities continue to investigate the extent of the outbreak and its implications, vigilance and caution remain paramount in safeguarding public health against such preventable hazards.

Here are the over 60 products included which are recalled. CDC also provided a list of the products. See Full List

More information

Find out more about listeria at the Mayo Clinic.

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