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Posted on: February 22, 2021

PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY

HUDSON REGIONAL HEALTH COMMISSION

HEALTH ALERT NETWORK

Public Health Advisory

February 21, 2021

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To Hudson County Health Officers and Public Health Community:

 

Please review the following message from Alan Talarsky, Environmental Scientist 4, Public Health and Food Protection Program, NJDOH regarding the following Class 1 Recall issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

El Abuelito Cheese of Paterson, NJ is recalling all Queso Fresco (Fresh, soft cheese) products, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which 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 monocytogenes infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

All Queso Fresco products with sell by dates through 032821, 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

Brand Product Name Size Container Type UPC Code

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

As of February 11, 2021, the CDC reports seven people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes from four states.

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 the FDA stated, about 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. Sample analysis showed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in samples of El Abuelito Queso Fresco sold in 10 oz packages, marked as Lot A027 with an expiration date of 02/26/2021. Samples are currently undergoing Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis to determine if the Listeria monocytogenes found in these samples is a match to the outbreak strain. At this time, there is not enough evidence to determine if this outbreak is linked to El Abuelito Queso Fresco.

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.

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At this time, the Public Health and Food Protection Program is recommending that local health department officials verify that the above products are not remaining in retail establishments' shelves nor offered for sale in any other establishments where Hispanic style cheeses are sold. If any developments or requests for assistance from FDA are received, then PHFPP will promptly notify you.

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For all recalls - http://www.recalls.gov/recent.html

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