California-based Rizo Lopez Foods has recalled dozens of its cheese and dairy products after federal health officials linked the company to a decade-long listeria outbreak. This outbreak has led to two deaths and more than 20 hospitalizations across the country. The Food and Drug Administration advised consumers not to eat the recalled brands of cheese, sour cream or yogurt and to discard any such products they have purchased. They also recommended that people or businesses that have bought the recalled products should clean and sanitize any surfaces or containers the products touched. Pregnant and immunocompromised people, as well as newborns and adults over the age of 65, are most at risk of falling seriously ill from a listeria infection, according to the FDA.
The listeria outbreak dates back to 2014 and has impacted 26 people in 11 states, resulting in 23 hospitalizations and two deaths. The states that have reported listeria cases include Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. Rizo Lopez Foods has voluntarily recalled cheese, yogurt, and sour cream sold under various brand names, including Tio Francisco, Don Francisco, Rizo Bros, and others. Listeria is an infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium and is the third leading cause of death from foodborne illness in the United States.
In addition to cheese, previous listeria outbreaks have been linked to deli meats, packaged salads, and enoki mushrooms. Symptoms of listeria can range from mild symptoms such as fever and vomiting to severe symptoms such as loss of balance and convulsions. The severity of the illness is why it is crucial for both consumers and retailers to adhere to the Food and Drug Administration’s advice and recall of the affected products.