Listeria Outbreak Linked to Queso Fresco and Cotija Cheese

Illustration with a triangle and exclamation mark and text reading Food Safety Alert

Posted April 10, 2024

This outbreak is over. Learn what you can do to protect yourself from getting sick from Listeria.

Fast Facts
  • Illnesses: 26
  • Hospitalizations: 23
  • Deaths: 2
  • States: 11
  • Recall: Yes
  • Investigation status: Closed (first posted on February 6, 2024)
Round block of cheese on a wooden cutting board

Queso fresco

Some of the recalled cheeses.

Some of the recalled cheeses.

Some of the recalled foods.

Some of the recalled foods.

Outbreak Summary

Data showed that queso fresco and cotija cheese made by Rizo-López Foods made people sick in this outbreak. Many foods including cheeses, crema, and yogurts were recalled. Recalled foods are past their shelf life.

See FDA’s website for all recall notices.

What You Should Do
  • Know your Listeria risk. If you are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system due to certain medical conditions or treatments, Listeria can be more harmful to you.
  • Choose safer foods. Find out which foods are more likely to be contaminated with Listeria and ways you can protect your health.
  • Be aware that fresh soft cheeses made with pasteurized milk have caused Listeria outbreaks, including this one. Although pasteurization of milk kills Listeria, soft cheeses made from pasteurized milk can still get contaminated during cheese-making.
Listeria Symptoms
  • Listeria is especially harmful to people who are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have weakened immune systems. 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.
    • For people who are pregnant, Listeria can cause pregnancy loss, premature birth, or a life-threatening infection in their newborn.
    • For people who are 65 years or older or who have a weakened immune system, Listeria often results in hospitalization and sometimes death.
  • Symptoms usually start within 2 weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria, but may start as early as the same day or as late as 10 weeks after.
    • Pregnant people usually have fever, muscle aches, and tiredness.
    • People who are not pregnant usually have fever, muscle aches, and tiredness. They may also get a headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or seizures.
  • For more information about Listeria, see the Listeria Questions and Answers page.