The U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) is recalling El Abuelito Queso Fresco, which is sold in Connecticut, after confirming that it carries Listeria monocytogenes.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is warning consumers, restaurants and retailers not to eat, serve or sell the cheese due to lab findings that confirm the product is the source of a multi-state Listeria outbreak.
All Queso Fresco products with sell-by dates through March 28, 2021, have been recalled.
The El Abuelito cheese products being recalled in Connecticut are Queso Fresco Regular, Queso Fresco Promocion, Queso Fresco de Hoja, Queso Fresco and Queso Fresco Guatemala.
Officials said that the "whole genome sequencing" analysis by the CT State Laboratory confirmed Listeria found in the cheese samples collected last week genetically matched Listeria found in four other states.
The company is working with the FDA and has issued a recall for all Queso Fresco cheese they produce. This includes both the company brand and private labels such as Rio Grande and Rio Lindo, the DPH said.
Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may also experience symptoms including high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, according to the DPH.
Seven people have been hospitalized, including one in Connecticut. Four people in Maryland, one person in New York, and one person in Virginia were also hospitalized, according to the FDA.
The product that tested positive came from El Abuelito, a manufacturer based in Paterson, New Jersey.
For more information on the FDA investigation, click here.