Title: California Cheese Company Identified as Source of Decade-long Listeria Outbreak
In a shocking revelation, California-based cheese and dairy company, Rizo-Lopez Foods, has been identified as the source of a decade-long outbreak of listeria food poisoning. The outbreak, which first came to light in June 2014, has claimed the lives of two individuals and sickened over two dozen people across 11 states.
New evidence from laboratory tests and inspections has conclusively linked soft cheeses and other dairy products made by Rizo-Lopez Foods to the outbreak. As a result, on Monday, the company issued a recall for more than 60 soft cheeses, yogurt, and sour cream sold under various brand names, including Tio Francisco, Don Francisco, and Rizo Bros.
Interestingly, previous investigations into cases of food poisoning associated with queso fresco and similar cheeses had failed to identify a specific source. However, the discovery of new illnesses reported in December prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to revisit the investigation.
The breakthrough came when a cheese sample from Rizo-Lopez Foods tested positive for the strain of listeria connected to the outbreak. This confirmation not only established the company’s products as the cause of illness but also underscored the need for immediate action.
The scope of the recall is significant, with recalled products having been distributed nationwide in various stores and retail deli counters, including El Super, Cardenas Market, and Northgate Gonzalez. Consumers who have purchased these recalled products are strongly advised to discard them and take thorough measures to clean their refrigerators, counters, and other contact sites to prevent cross-contamination, as listeria can survive in the refrigerator and contaminate other foods and surfaces.
Listeria infections can have severe consequences, especially for vulnerable individuals, such as pregnant individuals, people over 65 years old, or those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of listeria infection, including muscle aches, fever, and fatigue, typically manifest within two weeks after consuming contaminated foods.
Authorities are urging consumers to remain vigilant and seek medical attention if they experience any symptoms associated with listeria infection after consuming these products. Prompt detection and treatment can help prevent further complications or fatalities.
Rizo-Lopez Foods has assured the public that they are cooperating fully with investigators and have implemented extensive measures to rectify the situation and prevent any future outbreaks. The company’s transparency and swift recall action are crucial steps in safeguarding consumer health and reinforcing the significance of rigorous food safety measures within the dairy industry.