El Abuelito, a New Jersey-based cheese company, has recalled Queso Fresco (fresh, soft cheese products) due to potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.
The recall involves all queso fresco with sell-by dates through 032821 (March 28, 2021).
The cheese was sold under the El Abuelito® brand in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, including varieties such as Queso Fresco Regular, Promoción, Queso Fresco de Hoja, Queso Fresco Guatemala, and more.
The cheese was sold under the Rio Grande Food Products® brand in Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland, including varieties such as Chirilagua Queso de Hacienda, Queso Fresco Campestre con Hoja, Yorito, Olancho, Guatemalteca, Hondureña, Salvadoreña, and more.
The cheese was sold under the Rio Lindo® brand in North Carolina and Maryland, including Queso Fresco Mexicano, Hondureño, and Salvadoreño.
The products were distributed through February 16, 2021 in supermarkets, wholesalers, and retail stores.
The recalls began after a sample of queso fresco from a store in Connecticut tested positive for Listeria bacteria where a sick person reported buying cheese.
Health officials are still working to determine if the strain of Listeria they detected in cheese from the Connecticut store is the same strain that is making people sick in other states.
Between October 2020 and February 2021, at least 7 people were hospitalized due to severe Listeria infections after eating Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses, with illnesses reported in Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Virginia, according to the CDC.