Listeria Outbreak Linked to Queso Fresco Made by El Abuelito Cheese Inc.

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

Posted February 24, 2021

Fast Facts
  • Illnesses: 10  (3 new)
  • Hospitalizations: 9
  • Deaths: 0
  • States: 4
  • Recall: Yes
  • Investigation status: Active
Product labels 5

Recalled El Abuelito queso fresco

Product labels 3

Recalled Rio Grande queso fresco

Product labels 1

Recalled Rio Grande queso fresco

Product labels 2

Recalled Rio Grande queso fresco

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Recalled Rio Lindo queso fresco

Recalled and Potentially Contaminated Food

Queso fresco sold under brand names of El Abuelito, Rio Grande, and Rio Lindo

  • On February 19, El Abuelito Cheese Inc. recalled all queso fresco products made at the same facility with sell-by dates through 03/28/21 (see recall noticeexternal icon).
  • Connecticut officials found the outbreak strain of Listeria in samples of El Abuelito brand queso fresco cheese collected from a store where a sick person bought El Abuelito brand cheeses.

All cheeses sold under the brand name of El Abuelito

  • Other El Abuelito brand cheeses made or handled in the same facility as the queso fresco have not yet been recalled, but CDC is concerned they may be contaminated and could make people sick.
  • Investigators are working to identify all cheese products made or handled in that facility that may be contaminated.
What You Should Do
  • Do not eat any recalled queso fresco cheeses (sold under brand names of El Abuelito, Rio Grande, or Rio Lindo) or any other El Abuelito brand cheeses. Throw them away or return any recalled cheeses to where you bought them.
  • Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator, containers, and surfaces that may have touched the cheeses. Listeria can survive in the refrigerator and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.
  • Call your healthcare provider right away if you have these symptoms after eating any of the cheeses that may be contaminated:
    • Pregnant people typically experience only fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. However, Listeria infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
    • People who are not pregnant may experience headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.
What Businesses Should Do
Symptoms of Listeria
  • Listeria can cause severe illness (known as invasive listeriosis) when the bacteria spread beyond the gut to other parts of the body.
    • Pregnant people, adults 65 years or older, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness.
    • Pregnant people typically experience only fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. However, Listeria infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
    • People who are not pregnant may experience headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.
    • Symptoms of severe illness usually start 1 to 4 weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria, but may start as early as the same day or as late as 70 days after.
  • Listeria can also cause common food poisoning symptoms, like diarrhea and fever. People who experience these symptoms usually recover without treatment.
  • For more information about Listeria, see the Listeria Questions and Answers page.