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After 2 Deaths and 23 Hospitalizations Across 11 States, California Company Recalls Dairy Products Due to Listeria Outbreak

It's worth checking your yogurt, cheese, and sour cream.

<p>Getty</p>

Getty

Rizo-López Foods, a Modesto, California-based company, has voluntarily recalled a significant number of its cheeses and dairy products, due to their connection to an ongoing outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes. According to a Food Safety Alert from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 26 Listeria-related illnesses in 11 different states; 23 of the individuals who were sickened by Listeria were hospitalized, and two deaths have been reported in connection to this outbreak.

Rizo-López has recalled a wide range of products, including cheese, yogurts, and sour creams, that were sold nationwide at supermarkets and other retailers and at dairy counters.  These items were distributed and sold under the following brand names: Campesino, Casa Cardenas, Don Francisco, Dos Ranchitos, El Huache, Food City, La Ordena, Rio Grande, Rizo Bros, San Carlos, Santa Maria, Tio Francisco, and 365 Whole Foods Market. (A full list of the recalled products, their sell-by dates, and UPC codes can be found in a press release from Rizo-López Foods, while photos of the packaging are available on the FDA’s website.)

The CDC said that it previously investigated the source of this Listeria outbreak in 2017 and again in 2021. “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 agency wrote on its website. “CDC reopened the investigation in January 2024 after new illnesses were reported in December 2023 and the outbreak strain was found in a cheese sample from Rizo-López Foods.”

Illnesses related to this outbreak have been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington state. According to the CDC, the number of illnesses caused by this outbreak may be higher, and may also include other states. “This is because some people recover without medical care and are not tested for Listeria,” the agency explains. “In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.”

This is the second recall of Rizo-López Foods products this year. In January, the company recalled 344 cases of its Aged Cotija Mexican Grating Cheese, after a sample taken by the Hawaii State Department of Health identified  Listeria monocytogenes in the product. According to the company, it has ceased producing and distributing the Aged Cotija Mexican Grating Cheese as it works with the FDA to determine the source of the contamination.

If you have purchased any of the products included in the Rizo-López Foods recall, you should not consume any of them. The potentially affected items should be discarded or returned to the original point of purchase. In addition, the CDC recommends cleaning any shelves or drawers in the refrigerator or any countertops that the products may have touched, as Listeria can survive on hard surfaces and can potentially spread to other foods.

Any consumers who have questions about the potentially affected products or about the recall may contact Rizo-López Foods by calling 1-833-296-2233. The company says that calls to that number “will be monitored 24 hours a day.”

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