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Costco, Walmart Pull Potentially Deadly Items from Shelves in Nationwide Recall

A deadly listeria outbreak tied to types of dairy products that infected people across nearly a dozen states prompted recalls from Costco, Walmart, Trader Joe’s and other major retailers.

Federal health officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with local health officials are investigating the multistate outbreak of infections that have been linked to queso fresco and cotija cheese made by Rizo-López Foods.

Cheese, cream and yogurt products have been impacted by nationwide recalls as a result.

What to know about the listeria outbreak

The CDC said infections with this particular outbreak strain have been reported since 2014.

The agency investigated outbreaks in 2017 and 2021. However, while “epidemiologic evidence in previous investigations identified queso fresco and other similar cheeses as a potential source of the outbreak,” health officials said there wasn’t enough information to identify a specific brand.

The CDC recently reopened the investigation after new illnesses were reported in December.

A sample of Rizo Bros Aged Cotija tested positive for listeria monocytogenes during a sampling conducted by the Hawaii State Department of Health’s Food and Drug Branch in January 2024, the FDA said.

Illnesses

As of Feb. 6, two dozen people have been infected across 11 states from June 15, 2014, to Dec. 10, 2023. Health officials warned that the number of illnesses “is likely higher than the number reported,” given that some people recover without medical care.

Of the people with information available, 23 have been hospitalized, according to the CDC. Two people have died, one from California and another from Texas.

Of the 22 people interviewed by health officials, about 73% of them reported eating queso fresco, cotija or similar cheeses.

Recalls

A growing number of companies have issued recalls for products that include various types of cheeses, cream and yogurt such as blanco suave, cotija, Oaxaca, panel, queso creme, queso fresco, queso para freir, queso sec, requeson and ricotta.

The impacted products include salads and salad kits, tacos and taco kits, burritos, enchiladas, sandwiches, dressings, sauces and dips.

To date, the FDA has already posted 112 products sold by major retailers, including Costo, Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, that have been recalled.

Symptoms to watch out for

Listeria symptoms typically occur within two weeks of eating the affected food. Mild symptoms include a fever, muscle aches, nausea, tiredness, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the FDA.

If the more severe form of listeriosis develops, patients can get a headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.

Those who are pregnant, at least 65 years old, or have weak immune systems are most at risk of getting sick.

What should you do if you bought a recalled product?

Health officials said the recalled products should be thrown away or returned.

Consumers also need to clean any surface, such as refrigerators or containers, that may have touched the recalled products, the CDC said. Health officials warned that the bacteria can “survive in the refrigerator and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.”

If a person comes down with any symptoms after eating the recalled products, they should call a health care provider “right away,” officials said.

READ 4 COMMENTS
  • P says:

    What to do if I bought a lysteria infected product. Feed it to a Democrat. They got cast iron stomachs. Let’s find out!!

  • Tarbella says:

    What about bio- engineering that are in foods, can that harm us?

  • Isn’t it just possible that Walmart and Cosco recalled these products in order to have people think that the FDA and the CDC are still needed, and that these products didn’t need to be recalled at all?

  • Rita says:

    WOW two dozen people over a nine year period in eleven states that’s quite the epidemic. Taking two weeks to show symptoms. There is NO way this so called outbreak can be linked to anything.

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