A queso fresco Listeria outbreak has grown to include 10 illnesses in Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Virginia, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreak has been linked to cheese made by El Abuelito of Paterson, NJ, and sold under the brand names El Abuelito, Rio Grande, and Rio Lindo.

Last week, the company issued a queso fresco recall for those cheeses. However, since that time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun an on-site inspection of El Abuelito’s facility on Main Street in Paterson and is concerned that other products made there may also be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and is now urging consumers to avoid all products sold under the El Abuelito brand name.

Products sold under the El Abuelito brand name  include:

  • Crema Centroamericana and Crema Mexicana (sour cream)
  • Dominican leaf cheese (queso de hoja),
  • Requesón (ricotta)
  • Oaxaca-style cheese
  • Panela
  • Queso Cotija
  • Queso fresco (Columbia, Ecuadorian, Guatemalan, Honduran, Salvadoran and Venezuelan)

Consumers who have purchased these products should not eat them as Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious illness and death. Among pregnant women, Listeria infections can cause miscarriage, stillbirth and premature delivery of an infected newborn. Symptoms of an infection include high fever, severe headache, muscle stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of balance, and convulsions. Usually, these symptoms develop within two weeks of exposure but they can take as long as two months to appear. Anyone who has eaten these cheeses and develops symptoms of a Listeria infection should see a doctor right away.

The CDC has been able to contact nine of the 10 people sickened. Two of the illnesses are pregnancy-related.  All of the patients interviewed have been hospitalized and told the CDC that they first began to experience symptoms of a Listeria infection on dates ranging from October 20, 2020, to February 9, 2021. The patients range in age from less than one year old to 75 years old. New York and Maryland have each reported four illnesses, Connecticut and Virginia have each reported one.

Listeria Lawyer - El Abuelito Queso Fresco Outbreak, NY, CT, MD, VA

CDC map of El Abuelito queso fresco Listeria outbreak

During an inspection last year, the FDA found serious food safety violations at El Abuelito including the presence of non-pathogenic Listeria species indicating that that the environment was conducive to the growth of Listeria monocytogenes. The company was ordered to make corrective actions but made efforts that were insufficient, according to a June 2020 warning letter the FDA sent to the company.

Experienced Listeria Lawyers

If you were sickened by contaminated cheese and would like to discuss your legal options, contact our Listeria lawyers for a free consultation. Call 1 (888) 377-8900, send a text to 612-261-0856. Or, complete the form below. The consultation is free and there is no obligation.