On February 16, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) warned people not to eat, serve or sell El Abuelito Queso Fresco cheese after laboratory tests were positive for Listeria.
The fresh soft cheese was collected from a store in Connecticut as part of an investigation into a multi-state outbreak of Listeria illnesses.
At least 7 people have been hospitalized with Listeria infections in 4 states. One sick person bought Hispanic-style soft cheese from the store in Connecticut that sold El Abuelito Queso Fresco.
Testing is ongoing to determine if the strain of Listeria in El Abuelito Queso Fresco matches the outbreak strain.
The product that tested positive for Listeria came from El Abuelito, a cheese manufacturer in Paterson, New Jersey. It was sold as a fresh product in a 10-ounce plastic container. The product is labeled with a sticker with Lot #A027 and a date of February 26, 2021.
Illnesses have been reported in Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Virginia, but according to the FDA outbreak investigation, it is possible that more brands of cheese and more states may be involved in the outbreak.
In the meantime, the FDA is warning high-risk people not to eat any type of Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheese, including El Abuelito Queso Fresco, until they identify what cheeses are making people sick.