Listeria outbreak across more than 10 states linked to recalled dairy products: CDC

A listeria outbreak in 11 states has been linked to recalled dairy products, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday.

The CDC said the listeria outbreak has resulted in 26 illnesses, 23 hospitalizations and two deaths. 

Rizo-López Foods recalled the dairy products because “they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes,” it said in a press release Tuesday. The products included in the recall are sour cream, cheese and yogurt sold under brand names Tio Francisco, Don Francisco, Rizo Bros, Rio Grande, Food City, El Huache, La Ordena, San Carlos, Campesino, Santa Maria, Dos Ranchitos, Casa Cardenas and 365 Whole Foods Market. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Monday the multistate outbreak linked to that strain of Listeria has extended over several years.

“CDC investigated this outbreak in 2017 and 2021,” the FDA said. “Epidemiologic evidence in previous investigations identified queso fresco and other similar cheeses as a potential source of the outbreak, but there was not enough information to identify a specific brand.”

The CDC reopened the probe last month amid December illnesses, and “the outbreak strain was found in a cheese sample from Rizo-López Foods,” the FDA said.

Of the 22 people interviewed by the CDC, 16 indicated they had gotten ill after eating queso fresco, cotija or similar cheeses. The FDA’s investigation of Rizo-López Foods is ongoing.

“Listeria is especially harmful to people who are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have weakened immune systems,” the CDC said in its food safety alert. “This is because Listeria is more likely to spread beyond their gut to other parts of their body, resulting in a severe condition known as invasive listeriosis.”

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