CDC has updated its food safety alert for a Listeria outbreak linked to queso fresco made by El Abuelito Cheese Inc.

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Saturday, February 27, 2021
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

CDC has updated its food safety alert for a Listeria outbreak linked to queso fresco made by El Abuelito Cheese Inc.: https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/hispanic-soft-cheese-02-21/index.html

Key points:

  • CDC has learned that two other types of cheeses, quesillo and requeson, are made or packed by El Abuelito Cheese Inc. at the same facility as the recalled queso fresco. CDC is concerned that these cheeses could also be contaminated and could make people sick.
  • CDC is advising people at higher risk for severe Listeria illness to not eat any brand of quesillo or requeson cheeses until we learn more. This is because quesillo and requeson cheeses made or packed by El Abuelito Cheese Inc. may have been distributed under other brand names.
        • You are at higher risk for severe Listeria illness if you are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system due to certain medical conditions or treatments.
  • No new illnesses have been reported since the most recent update on February 24th. This outbreak has sickened a total of 10 people in four states (Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Virginia).

Advice for people at higher risk for severe Listeria illness:

  • Do not eat any brand of quesillo and requeson cheese, in addition to the recalled queso fresco cheeses. Throw them away or return any recalled cheeses to where you bought them.
  • Call your healthcare provider right away if you have Listeria symptoms after eating any queso fresco, quesillo, or requeson cheeses.

Advice for everyone else:

  • Do not eat any El Abuelito brand quesillo and requeson cheese, in addition to the recalled queso fresco cheeses. Throw them away or return any recalled cheeses to where you bought them.

About 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 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.

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.

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Page last reviewed: February 27, 2021