Deadly Cheeses Prompt Massive Recall Nationwide: CDC, FDA, USDA

Dairy products linked to deaths and serious illness — sold nationwide at many major retailers — are being recalled, the Center for Disease Control, the US Department of Agriculture, and the Food And Drug Administration announced in multiple releases over the first week of February. 

Photos of some of the cheese products recalled by Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. according to the FDA and CDC. 

Photos of some of the cheese products recalled by Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. according to the FDA and CDC. 

Photo Credit: FDA/CDC/Rizo LopezFoods, Inc.

Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. is recalling over 50 products after 26 illnesses, 23 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths, according to the CDC. 

The California-based company issued the recall following the report of Listeria monocytogenes contamination causing illnesses in 11 states.

Listeria monocytogenes can cause potentially fatal infections in young children, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems. Healthy consumers exposed to listeria would possibly only experience short-term symptoms like "high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea," as stated in the CDC release.

The FDA also noted that listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

The CDC began its investigation into the first reported case in 2017. They had determined queso fresco and other cheese products were the "potential source of the outbreak," according to the first release in Feb. 2024. Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. was only identified as the manufacturer after new cases were reported in December 2023. 

In January 2024, the FDA determined this current outbreak of listeria, is matching that same 2017 strain. This was found at the Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. factory. 

The recalled products were sold under the brand names Amazon Kitchen, Simply Fresh LLC, Trader Joe’s Company, Fresh Creative Foods, 365 by Whole Foods Market, Tio Francisco, Don Francisco, Rizo Bros, Rio Grande, Food City, El Huache, La Ordena, San Carlos, Campesino, Santa Maria, Dos Ranchitos, Casa Cardenas, as detailed in numerous releases from the USDA, FDA, and CDC. 

The Simply Fresh LLC product recalled is the Rojos Black Bean 7-Layer Dip 2-20oz club packs. The product was only sold at Costco stores in AL, AK, FL, GA, ID, MI, MT, NC, OR, SC, TN, WA, UT.

The Trader Joe’s Company recalled items are Chicken Enchiladas Verde, Cilantro Salad Dressing, Elote Chopped Salad Kit, and Southwest Salad — sold in Trader Joe’s nationwide.

"Fresh Creative Foods recalled certain cremas, everything sauces, cilantro cotija dressing, poblano Caesar dressing, and cilantro dressing, sold in Costco, H-E-B, and Trader Joe’s stores; and taco kits sold in Costco and Albertson’s stores. Recalled products were sold in CA, CT, FL, ID, IL, MD, MT, NJ, NV, OR, PA, SD, TX, UT, VA, and WA," officials said.

The 365 by Whole Foods Market products include whole and part-skim ricotta cheeses sold nationwide. 

On Feb. 8, The USDA also issued a recall due to cotija cheese from Rizo Lopez Foods in Amazon Kitchen's "Chicken Chili Verde Burrito with rice, black beans & Monterey Jack” with production dates 6/20/23, 8/21/23, 8/22/23, and 12/30/23, and with expiration dates of 3/16/24, 5/17/24, 5/18/24, and 9/25/24, click here to read more about that specific recall and here to see sample labels.

More information about recalled products, including descriptions, sizes, and UPCs or “best by” dates are available by clicking here, here, and here for the lists of products recalled by the producer Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. Additional information is also available in the recall notices from the companies who sold the products, the CDC explained.

"The investigation is ongoing, and FDA will continue to update this advisory as additional information become[s] available," both the FDA and the CDC stated in multiple releases. New products were added Friday evening, click here and scroll to the part labeled Feb. 9 for the full details. 

People are asked to check their refrigerators and freezers for any of the products and throw them away, officials urged. 

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