As of February 13, 2024, FDA has not received any additional confirmed complaints/reports of adverse events potentially linked to recalled product. To date, confirmed complainants, or people for whom a complaint or adverse event was submitted and met FDA’s complainant definition, are between zero and 53 years of age and the median age is one year old.

CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health is conducting case finding efforts in collaboration with state and local health departments. CDC’s case definition for state partners includes a blood lead level of 3.5 µg/dL or higher measured within 3 months after consuming a recalled WanaBana, Schnucks, or Weis brand fruit puree product after November 2022. As of February 9, CDC has received reports of 101 confirmed cases, 284 probable cases, and 37 suspected cases for a total of 422 cases from 44 different states through their reporting structure. For more information, please visit CDC’s page to review their case reporting methodology and findings.

CDC and FDA have different data sources, so the counts reported by each agency will not directly correspond. In addition, some people who were affected by the contaminated product might be reflected in both the numbers reported by the FDA and the numbers reported by CDC, so the numbers should not be added together.

FDA’s investigation is ongoing to determine the point of contamination and whether additional products are linked to illnesses. FDA has no indication that this issue extends beyond these recalled products and does not have any confirmed reports of illnesses or elevated blood lead level adverse events reported for other cinnamon-containing products or cinnamon.

Previous updates not captured by the initial timeline below are in the Previous Updatessection. FDA will update the advisory as information becomes available.

It has been a busy few months on outbreaks and recalls.

As of February 15, 2024, a total of 87 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from 30 states – Arizona 2, California 1, Colorado 1, Connecticut 1, Florida 2, Idaho 2, Illinois 1, Iowa 2, Kentucky 1, Louisiana 1, Maryland 4, Massachusetts 1, Michigan 1, Minnesota 2, Missouri 2, Nebraska 3, New Jersey 5, New York 9, North Dakota 1, Ohio 13, Oklahoma 1, Oregon 1, Pennsylvania 6, Tennessee 1, Texas 8, Utah 1, Vermont 1, Virginia 5, Washington 6 and Wisconsin 2.

 Illnesses started on dates ranging from November 20, 2023, to January 20, 2024. Of 74 people with information available, 18 have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

FSIS collected Coppa products from Fratelli Beretta, which tested positive for Salmonella. Whole genome sequencing showed it is a different strain of Salmonella from ill people in this outbreak and the Antipasto collected by the Minnesota Department of Health. Fratelli Beretta recalled many brands of charcuterie meat products containing Coppa due to Salmonella contamination.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. M47967 or M7543B” inside the USDA mark of inspection or in inkjet print on the front of the package. These items were shipped to distributor and retail locations nationwide.

FSIS is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health partners to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella. FSIS collected unopened RTE Coppa product as part of the investigation, which tested positive for Salmonella, but that product was not released into commerce. After further investigation, FSIS determined that the product subject to the recall may be under processed.

In the United States, the Salmonella Sundsvall outbreak linked to cantaloupe from Mexico has been declared over.  The outbreaks sickened 407 people in 44 states. Six deaths were reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first reported the outbreak on November 17.

Of the 362 patients with information available, 158 were hospitalized. 

Illnesses started from Oct. 15, 2023, to Dec. 25, 2023.

The patients ranged from less than 1 year old to 100 years, with a median age of 60. An unusually high percentage of the patients were five years or younger, with 26 percent of patients reported in that age group. Forty-seven percent of the patients were 65 years old or older.

Canadian officials have posted their final update on the Salmonella outbreak traced to cantaloupe, adding two deaths to the toll. There were 190 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella Soahanina, Sundsvall, Oranienburg, and Newport illnesses associated with the nationwide outbreak. Sixty-eight patients were hospitalized, and nine died.

Individuals who became ill were less than 1 to 100 years of age. Most of the patients were children five years or younger, 33 percent, or adults 65 years or older, 45 percent. About half of the cases were female.

The Canadian outbreak coincided with an outbreak in the United States that was traced to the same cantaloupe as was implicated in Canada. Recalls for Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupe from Mexico began in November. Several secondary recalls of fresh-cut products made with the cantaloupes were initiated. Investigators found the outbreak strain of Salmonella on Malichita brand cantaloupe.

As of February 6, 2024, a total of 26 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from 11 states: Arizona 4, California 8, Colorado 4, Florida 1, Georgia 1, Nevada 1, North Carolina 1, Oregon 1, Tennessee 2, Texas 2, Washington 1. Two deaths have been reported, one from California and one from Texas.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 15, 2014, to December 10, 2023. Of 26 people with information available, 23 have been hospitalized. 

Among people who are pregnant, Listeria can cause pregnancy loss, premature birth, or a life-threatening infection in their newborn. In this outbreak, two people got sick during their pregnancy and one person had a pregnancy loss. There are also two newborns in the case count for this outbreak because Listeria can be passed to newborns during pregnancy.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the month before they got sick. Of the 22 people interviewed, 16 (73%) reported eating queso fresco, cotija, or other similar cheeses. Among people who remembered specific brands, three people who got sick between 2014 and 2022 reported Don Francisco brand queso fresco or cotija. Don Francisco is one of the brands of recalled cheeses.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS).

WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples from 2014 to present are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

In January 2024, the Hawaii State Department of Health’s Food and Drug Branch collected a sample of aged cotija cheese product made by Rizo-López Foods during routine sampling. Testing identified the outbreak strain of Listeria in the product.

FDA conducted inspections at the Rizo-López Foods facility and collected food and environmental samples for testing. FDA found the outbreak strain of Listeria on a container where cheeses are kept before they are packaged.

As of February 16, 2024, a total of 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from four states – California, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Of 9 people with information available, 4 have been hospitalized and 1 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 8 people interviewed, 6 (75%) reported eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese. This percentage was significantly higher than the 4.9% of respondents who reported eating any raw milk cheese in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese.

CDC advises people not to eat, sell, or serve RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese while the investigation is ongoing. Recalled Raw Cheddar blocks and shredded cheese products. Sold at retailers nationwide – Original Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages and Cheddar with added Jalapeño Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages.

Here is bit(e) of history:

Organic Pastures Dairy Company (OPDC) & Raw Farm LLC – Started OPDC in 2000 – Changed name to Raw Farm LLC in 2020

Organic Pastures Dairy Company Recalls and Outbreaks:

2023 Raw Farm LLC Recalls and Outbreaks:
May 2023 Campylobacter Raw Milk Recall
August 2023 Salmonella Cheese Recall 

October 2023 Salmonella Raw Milk Outbreak and Recall:
San Diego County—12 illnesses 
Orange County—7 illnesses 

Here is the 2023-2024 version – E. coli Outbreak and Recall:

As of February 16, 2024, a total of 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from four states – California, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Of 9 people with information available, 4 have been hospitalized and 1 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 8 people interviewed, 6 (75%) reported eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese. This percentage was significantly higher than the 4.9% of respondents who reported eating any raw milk cheese in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese.

CDC advises people not to eat, sell, or serve RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese while the investigation is ongoing. Recalled Raw Cheddar blocks and shredded cheese products. Sold at retailers nationwide – Original Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages and Cheddar with added Jalapeño Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages

You have to wonder what the owners of Raw Milk LLC and California State health authorities are thinking.

2023 Raw Farm LLC Recalls and Outbreaks:
May 2023 Campylobacter Raw Milk Recall
August 2023 Salmonella Cheese Recall 

October 2023 Salmonella Raw Milk Outbreak and Recall:
San Diego County—12 illnesses 
Orange County—7 illnesses 

Here is the 2023-2024 version – E. coli Outbreak and Recall:

As of February 16, 2024, a total of 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from four states – California, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Of 9 people with information available, 4 have been hospitalized and 1 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 8 people interviewed, 6 (75%) reported eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese. This percentage was significantly higher than the 4.9% of respondents who reported eating any raw milk cheese in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese.

CDC advises people not to eat, sell, or serve RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese while the investigation is ongoing. Recalled Raw Cheddar blocks and shredded cheese products:

Sold at retailers nationwide.

  • Original Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages
  • Cheddar with added Jalapeño Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages

Here is bit(e) of history:

Organic Pastures Dairy Company (OPDC) & Raw Farm
Started OPDC in 2000 – Changed name to Raw Farm LLC in 2020

Organic Pastures Dairy Company Recalls and Outbreaks:
September 2006 Raw Milk E.coli Outbreak: 6 ill/2 HUS 
September 2007 Raw Cream Listeria Recall
December 2007 Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak: 8 ill 
September 2008 Raw Cream Campylobacter Recall
November 2011 Raw Milk E.coli Outbreak: 5 ill/3 HUS 
May 2012 Campylobacter Raw Milk/Cream Outbreak: 10 ill, reported illnesses from Jan. thru April
October 2015 Campylobacter Raw Milk Recall
January 2016 E.coli Raw Milk Outbreak: 9 ill/2 HUS

As of February 15, 2024, a total of 87 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from 30 states – Arizona 2, California 1, Colorado 1, Connecticut 1, Florida 2, Idaho 2, Illinois 1, Iowa 2, Kentucky 1, Louisiana 1, Maryland 4, Massachusetts 1, Michigan 1, Minnesota 2, Missouri 2, Nebraska 3, New Jersey 5, New York 9, North Dakota 1, Ohio 13, Oklahoma 1, Oregon 1, Pennsylvania 6, Tennessee 1, Texas 8, Utah 1, Vermont 1, Virginia 5, Washington 6 and Wisconsin 2.

 Illnesses started on dates ranging from November 20, 2023, to January 20, 2024. Of 74 people with information available, 18 have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

FSIS collected Coppa products from Fratelli Beretta, which tested positive for Salmonella. Whole genome sequencing showed it is a different strain of Salmonella from ill people in this outbreak and the Antipasto collected by the Minnesota Department of Health. Fratelli Beretta recalled many brands of charcuterie meat products containing Coppa due to Salmonella contamination.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. M47967 or M7543B” inside the USDA mark of inspection or in inkjet print on the front of the package. These items were shipped to distributor and retail locations nationwide.

FSIS is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health partners to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella. FSIS collected unopened RTE Coppa product as part of the investigation, which tested positive for Salmonella, but that product was not released into commerce. After further investigation, FSIS determined that the product subject to the recall may be under processed.

Here we go again:

Organic Pastures Dairy Company (OPDC) & Raw Farm Recalls and Outbreaks 2006-2024
 
Started OPDC in 2000 – Changed name to Raw Farm LLC in 2020

I will always remember this kid I represented in the 2006 E. coli Outbreak:

Organic Pastures Dairy Company Recalls and Outbreaks:
 
September 2006 Raw Milk E.coli Outbreak: 6 ill/2 HUS 
 
September 2007 Raw Cream Listeria Recall
 
December 2007 Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak: 8 ill 
 
September 2008 Raw Cream Campylobacter Recall
 
November 2011 Raw Milk E.coli Outbreak: 5 ill/3 HUS 
 
May 2012 Campylobacter Raw Milk/Cream Outbreak: 10 ill, reported illnesses from Jan. thru April
 
October 2015 Campylobacter Raw Milk Recall
 
January 2016 E.coli Raw Milk Outbreak: 9 ill/2 HUS
 

Raw Farm LLC Recalls and Outbreaks:
 
May 2023 Campylobacter Raw Milk Recall
 
August 2023 Salmonella Cheese Recall 
 

October 2023 Salmonella Raw Milk Outbreak
San Diego County—12 illnesses 
Orange County—7 illnesses 

Here is the 2023-2024 version:

As of February 16, 2024, a total of 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from four states – California, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Of 9 people with information available, 4 have been hospitalized and 1 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 8 people interviewed, 6 (75%) reported eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese. This percentage was significantly higher than the 4.9% of respondents who reported eating any raw milk cheese in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese.

CDC advises people not to eat, sell, or serve RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese while the investigation is ongoing.

Food Safety News reports that in the past week, the number of children affected by extremely high levels of lead in certain cinnamon applesauce pouches has grown.

On Feb. 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that as of Feb. 9, it had received reports of 101 confirmed cases, 284 probable cases, and 37 suspected cases for 422 cases from 44 different states. That is up from 413 total cases in 43 states reported on Feb. 2.

The Food and Drug Administration has seen a leveling off in the reports it has received. As of Feb. 13, the agency had 90 reports, the same number reported in late January. The CDC and FDA use different reporting structures, and cases may overlap, so the agencies’ numbers should not be added together.

Reports of elevated lead levels in children who ate the applesauce from the implicated pouches began in the fall of 2023. Health officials in North Carolina reported those findings to federal officials, and the investigation began a few weeks later.

Three brands of cinnamon applesauce pouches were affected in the United States and have been recalled. Those brands are Wanabana, Schnucks and Weis. The products have a long shelf life, so health authorities are still urging parents to check their homes for the recalled products.

Parents and caretakers should consult a healthcare provider and ask for blood tests if they suspect a child may have been exposed to the recalled cinnamon applesauce products. 

Short-term exposure to lead could result in the following symptoms: headache, abdominal pain/colic, vomiting, and anemia. 

Longer-term exposure could result in additional symptoms: irritability, lethargy, fatigue, muscle aches or muscle prickling/burning, constipation, difficulty concentrating/muscular weakness, tremors, and weight loss. 

Permanent consequences can lead to developmental delays and brain damage.

The investigation

The FDA and officials in Ecuador — where the applesauce was produced — continue to investigate the situation. Some of the tests of cinnamon used to make the implicated applesauce showed 2,000 times the amount of lead considered safe.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revealed the name of the company that supplied tainted cinnamon used to make applesauce marketed for children in the United States. On Feb. 6, officials in Ecuador reported to the FDA that Carlos Aguilera of Ecuador was the processor of ground cinnamon used in making applesauce sold in pouches in the United States.

The cinnamon supplier sold the tainted spice to Negasmart, which sold the cinnamon to Austrofoods, the end producer of the applesauce. The FDA’s investigation is ongoing to determine the point of contamination and whether additional products are linked to illnesses.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the cinnamon supplier is currently not in business. The FDA’s deputy commissioner for human foods, Jim Jones, has said he believes the cinnamon was intentionally contaminated. Adding lead to spices and other products can increase the product’s weight and, therefore, its value.

“The FDA has limited authority over foreign ingredient suppliers who do not directly ship product to the U.S. This is because their food undergoes further manufacturing/processing before export. Thus, the FDA cannot take direct action with Negasmart or Carlos Aguilera,” according to a statement from the agency.

“FDA does not indicate that this issue extends beyond these recalled products and does not have any confirmed reports of illnesses or elevated blood lead level adverse events reported for other cinnamon-containing products or cinnamon.”

According to health officials in Ecuador, unprocessed cinnamon sticks used in recalled products were sourced from Sri Lanka. They were sampled by Ecuadoran officials and found to have no lead contamination.

It would be unusual to see Salmonella it a processed product like this.  However, FSIS indicates that there was possibly under-processing which could account for the failure to kill Salmonella.

87 is likely the tip of the iceberg as the CDC reports that there are nearly 40 additional cases for each one counted.

Do not to eat, serve, or sell any recalled products.

As of February 15, 2024, a total of 87 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from 30 states – Arizona 2, California 1, Colorado 1, Connecticut 1, Florida 2, Idaho 2, Illinois 1, Iowa 2, Kentucky 1, Louisiana 1, Maryland 4, Massachusetts 1, Michigan 1, Minnesota 2, Missouri 2, Nebraska 3, New Jersey 5, New York 9, North Dakota 1, Ohio 13, Oklahoma 1, Oregon 1, Pennsylvania 6, Tennessee 1, Texas 8, Utah 1, Vermont 1, Virginia 5, Washington 6 and Wisconsin 2.

 Illnesses started on dates ranging from November 20, 2023, to January 20, 2024. Of 74 people with information available, 18 have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

FSIS collected Coppa products from Fratelli Beretta, which tested positive for Salmonella. Whole genome sequencing showed it is a different strain of Salmonella from ill people in this outbreak and the Antipasto collected by the Minnesota Department of Health. Fratelli Beretta recalled many brands of charcuterie meat products containing Coppa due to Salmonella contamination.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. M47967 or M7543B” inside the USDA mark of inspection or in inkjet print on the front of the package. These items were shipped to distributor and retail locations nationwide.

FSIS is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health partners to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella. FSIS collected unopened RTE Coppa product as part of the investigation, which tested positive for Salmonella, but that product was not released into commerce. After further investigation, FSIS determined that the product subject to the recall may be under processed.

Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $850 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.  

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Additional Resources:

FDA has been notified of additional companies who have issued public notifications or recalls for products linked to the Rizo-Lopez Foods, Inc. dairy recall that were sold at retail locations. Products from the following announcements have been added to the table of recalled products below. 

  • MG Foods recalled S&S Ham & Cotija Torta Sandwich on Telera Roll sold in vending machines and grab-and-go retail markets in FL.

More information about recalled products, including descriptions, sizes, and UPCs or “best by” dates are included in the table of recalled products below. Additional information is also available in the recall notices from the companies.

Recalled dairy products and products made with recalled dairy products sold under the brand names:

  • Bright Farms, Campesino, Casa Cardenas, Dole, Don Francisco, Don Pancho, Dos Ranchitos, El Huache, Food City, Fresh & Ready Foods, Fresh Express, H-E-B, Jack & Olive, La Ordena, Marketside, Maverick Foods, President’s Choice, Ready Pac Bistro, Rio Grande, Rizo Bros, Rojos, San Carlos, Santa Maria, Sprig & Sprout (S&S), The Perfect Bite Co.,Tio Francisco, Trader Joe’s, and 365 Whole Foods Market.

Retailer names where product was sold unbranded as taco kits and meals:

  • Albertsons, Carrs-Safeway, Costco, Eagle, Lucky, Pavilions, Randalls, Safeway, Save Mart, Shaw’s, Sprouts, Star Market, Stater Bros. Markets, Tom Thumb, and Vons.

More information about recalled products, including descriptions, sizes, and UPCs or “best by” dates are included in the table of recalled products below. Additional information is also available in the recall notices from the companies.

As of February 6, 2024, a total of 26 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from 11 states: Arizona 4, California 8, Colorado 4, Florida 1, Georgia 1, Nevada 1, North Carolina 1, Oregon 1, Tennessee 2, Texas 2, Washington 1. Two deaths have been reported, one from California and one from Texas.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 15, 2014, to December 10, 2023. Of 26 people with information available, 23 have been hospitalized. 

Among people who are pregnant, Listeria can cause pregnancy loss, premature birth, or a life-threatening infection in their newborn. In this outbreak, two people got sick during their pregnancy and one person had a pregnancy loss. There are also two newborns in the case count for this outbreak because Listeria can be passed to newborns during pregnancy.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the month before they got sick. Of the 22 people interviewed, 16 (73%) reported eating queso fresco, cotija, or other similar cheeses. Among people who remembered specific brands, three people who got sick between 2014 and 2022 reported Don Francisco brand queso fresco or cotija. Don Francisco is one of the brands of recalled cheeses.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS).

WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples from 2014 to present are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

In January 2024, the Hawaii State Department of Health’s Food and Drug Branch collected a sample of aged cotija cheese product made by Rizo-López Foods during routine sampling. Testing identified the outbreak strain of Listeria in the product.

FDA conducted inspections at the Rizo-López Foods facility and collected food and environmental samples for testing. FDA found the outbreak strain of Listeria on a container where cheeses are kept before they are packaged.

What is Listeria?

Listeria is a bacterium that causes a serious infection called listeriosis. Around 300 deaths in the United States are caused by Listeria infection each year, according to estimates from a 2011 CDC report. 

Listeria bacteria are most found in raw foods. Vegetables can be contaminated by soil and water carrying bacteria. Listeria is also found in raw animal products, such as meat and cheese. 

Babies can be born with Listeria if the mother eats contaminated food during pregnancy. The death rate among newborns with Listeria is 25 to 50 percent. 

Who is most likely to get seriously ill from Listeria bacteria?

Healthy adults and children hardly ever become seriously ill from Listeria. However, people at increased risk of illness from Listeria bacteria include:

  • Pregnant women – Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than the average healthy adult
  • Newborns
  • People with weak immune systems
  • People with cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease
  • People with AIDS – People with AIDS are 300 times more likely to get sick from Listeria than people with normal immune systems
  • People who take gluticocorticosteroids, such as cortisone
  • Elderly people

Symptoms of Listeria

Listeria symptoms appear anywhere between 3 and 70 days after infection, but usually around 21 days later. Typical symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea or diarrhea (less common)

If infection spreads to the central nervous system, symptoms can include:

  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Convulsions

Symptoms for those with Weakened Immune Systems

If a patient has a weak immune system, Listeria bacteria can invade the central nervous system and cause meningitis or a brain infection. 

Symptoms for Pregnant Women and Newborns

Infected pregnant woman experience mild, flu-like symptoms. However, infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, infection of the newborn, or stillbirth. Symptoms usually appear in newborns in the first week of life but can also occur later on. A newborn’s Listeria symptoms are often subtle, and include irritability, fever, and poor feeding.

Diagnosis of Listeria

Doctors can determine whether patients have listeriosis by taking a blood or spinal fluid sample.

Treatment of Listeria

Patients who present with symptoms of listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics.

How to Prevent Listeria

  • Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as beef, pork, or poultry
  • Wash raw vegetables before eating them
  • Keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and cooked foods 
  • Avoid products made with unpasteurized milk
  • Wash hands and cooking utensils after handling uncooked foods
  • Consume perishable and read-to-eat foods as soon as possible

Foods to Avoid

  • Do not eat hot dogs or lunch meats unless they are heated to a temperature sufficient to kill Listeria bacteria
  • Avoid getting liquid from hot dog packages on other food
  • Wash hands after handling hot dogs and lunch and deli meats
  • Do not eat soft cheeses (e.g., feta, Brie, Camembert, blue cheese, and queso blanco) unless the label clearly states that they are pasteurized
  • Do not eat refrigerated pâté or meat spread, only canned or shelf-stable ones
  • Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood, sometimes labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” or “jerky.” Canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood is ok

Additional Resources:

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $850 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as lettuce, polony, deli meat, cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.  

If you or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Listeria attorneys for a free case evaluation.

FDA has been notified of additional recalls on 2/8/2024 for products made with or containing recalled dairy products from Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc.

  • BrightFarms, Inc. recalled Southwest Chipotle salad kits. The product was only sold to retailers in DE, MD, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, PA, VT, VA, and DC
  • Ready Pac Foods, Inc. recalled the following salad kits:
    • Marketside Southwest Chopped Kit and Marketside Bacon Ranch Crunch Kit sold to Walmart stores in AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, MA, MD, ME, MT, NH, NJ, NM, NY, PA, RI, SD, TX, VT, and WY
    • Ready Pac Bistro Fresh Mex Chopped Kit sold to WinCo stores in AZ and CA
    • Ready Pac Bistro Queso Crunch Salad Kit sold to Costco stores in CA, NV, HI
  • Fresh Express recalled the following salad kits:
    • Marketside Southwest Chopped Kit sold at retailers in AL, FL, and GA
    • Fresh Express Salsa! Ensalada Salad Kit sold at retailers in CA, ID, UT, WA
  • Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc. recalled Dole Chopped Kit Avocado Ranch, Dole Chop Kit Avocado Ranch (Chop Kit Ranch A L’Avocat), Dole Premium Kit Southwest Salad, Dole Cajun Ranch Chopped Kit, Dole Premium Kit Endless Summer, Dole Supreme Kit Southwest Salad (Supreme Kit Salade Du Sud-Ouest), President’s Choice Southwest Salad Kit (Sud-Ouest Kit de Salade), and Marketside Chopped Salad Kit Bacon Ranch Crunch. Recalled salad items were sold in the states of AL, CA, CT, FL, GA, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NV, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, UT, VA, WA, and WI. Additionally, these salads were distributed in the following Canadian provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec.   
  • Albertsons Companies recalled five Ready Meals and store-made taco kits that were available for purchase at the following banner stores: Albertsons, Carrs-Safeway, Eagle, Lucky, Pavilions, Randalls, Safeway, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, and Vons in AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, ID, LA, ME, MA, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, ND, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, and WY.

On 2/8/2024, The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert for:

  • amazon kitchen, CHICKEN CHILE VERDE burrito with rice, black beans & monterey jack, because they contain recalled dairy products.

More information about recalled products, including descriptions, sizes, and UPCs or “best by” dates are included in the table of recalled products below. Additional information is also available in the recall notices from the companies.

As of February 6, 2024, a total of 26 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from 11 states: Arizona 4, California 8, Colorado 4, Florida 1, Georgia 1, Nevada 1, North Carolina 1, Oregon 1, Tennessee 2, Texas 2, Washington 1. Two deaths have been reported, one from California and one from Texas.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 15, 2014, to December 10, 2023. Of 26 people with information available, 23 have been hospitalized. 

Among people who are pregnant, Listeria can cause pregnancy loss, premature birth, or a life-threatening infection in their newborn. In this outbreak, two people got sick during their pregnancy and one person had a pregnancy loss. There are also two newborns in the case count for this outbreak because Listeria can be passed to newborns during pregnancy.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the month before they got sick. Of the 22 people interviewed, 16 (73%) reported eating queso fresco, cotija, or other similar cheeses. Among people who remembered specific brands, three people who got sick between 2014 and 2022 reported Don Francisco brand queso fresco or cotija. Don Francisco is one of the brands of recalled cheeses.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS).

WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples from 2014 to present are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

In January 2024, the Hawaii State Department of Health’s Food and Drug Branch collected a sample of aged cotija cheese product made by Rizo-López Foods during routine sampling. Testing identified the outbreak strain of Listeria in the product.

FDA conducted inspections at the Rizo-López Foods facility and collected food and environmental samples for testing. FDA found the outbreak strain of Listeria on a container where cheeses are kept before they are packaged.

What is Listeria?

Listeria is a bacterium that causes a serious infection called listeriosis. Around 300 deaths in the United States are caused by Listeria infection each year, according to estimates from a 2011 CDC report. 

Listeria bacteria are most found in raw foods. Vegetables can be contaminated by soil and water carrying bacteria. Listeria is also found in raw animal products, such as meat and cheese. 

Babies can be born with Listeria if the mother eats contaminated food during pregnancy. The death rate among newborns with Listeria is 25 to 50 percent. 

Who is most likely to get seriously ill from Listeria bacteria?

Healthy adults and children hardly ever become seriously ill from Listeria. However, people at increased risk of illness from Listeria bacteria include:

  • Pregnant women – Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than the average healthy adult
  • Newborns
  • People with weak immune systems
  • People with cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease
  • People with AIDS – People with AIDS are 300 times more likely to get sick from Listeria than people with normal immune systems
  • People who take gluticocorticosteroids, such as cortisone
  • Elderly people

Symptoms of Listeria

Listeria symptoms appear anywhere between 3 and 70 days after infection, but usually around 21 days later. Typical symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea or diarrhea (less common)

If infection spreads to the central nervous system, symptoms can include:

  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Convulsions

Symptoms for those with Weakened Immune Systems

If a patient has a weak immune system, Listeria bacteria can invade the central nervous system and cause meningitis or a brain infection. 

Symptoms for Pregnant Women and Newborns

Infected pregnant woman experience mild, flu-like symptoms. However, infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, infection of the newborn, or stillbirth. Symptoms usually appear in newborns in the first week of life but can also occur later on. A newborn’s Listeria symptoms are often subtle, and include irritability, fever, and poor feeding.

Diagnosis of Listeria

Doctors can determine whether patients have listeriosis by taking a blood or spinal fluid sample.

Treatment of Listeria

Patients who present with symptoms of listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics.

How to Prevent Listeria

  • Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as beef, pork, or poultry
  • Wash raw vegetables before eating them
  • Keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and cooked foods 
  • Avoid products made with unpasteurized milk
  • Wash hands and cooking utensils after handling uncooked foods
  • Consume perishable and read-to-eat foods as soon as possible

Foods to Avoid

  • Do not eat hot dogs or lunch meats unless they are heated to a temperature sufficient to kill Listeria bacteria
  • Avoid getting liquid from hot dog packages on other food
  • Wash hands after handling hot dogs and lunch and deli meats
  • Do not eat soft cheeses (e.g., feta, Brie, Camembert, blue cheese, and queso blanco) unless the label clearly states that they are pasteurized
  • Do not eat refrigerated pâté or meat spread, only canned or shelf-stable ones
  • Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood, sometimes labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” or “jerky.” Canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood is ok

Additional Resources:

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $850 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as lettuce, polony, deli meat, cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.  

If you or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Listeria attorneys for a free case evaluation.