El Abuelito Recalls Queso Fresco Products Because of Possible Health Risk - 2/23/21

Company Announcement Date:

February 19, 2021

FDA Publish Date:

February 19, 2021

Product Type:

Food & Beverages
Cheese/Cheese Product
Foodborne Illness

Reason for Announcement:

Listeria monocytogenes

Company Name:

El Abuelito Cheese

Brand Name:

El Abuelito, Rio Grande, Rio Lindo

Product Description:

Queso Fresco

El Abuelito Cheese ofPaterson, NJ is recalling all Queso Fresco (Fresh, soft cheese) products, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria monocytogenes infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

All Queso Fresco products with sell by dates through 032821, have been recalled. The products are sold as El Abuelito Cheese brand, distributed in CT, NJ, PA, NY;​ Rio Grande Food Products brand, distributed in VA, NC, MD; and Rio Lindo distributed in NC and MD. The products were distributed through Feb 16, 2021 and were available in supermarkets, wholesale, and retails stores.

The following products being recalled were produced at Plant #34-12179 in the following forms

Brand Product Name Size Container Type UPC Code
El Abuelito Cheese Queso Fresco Regular 12 oz. Plastic Container 673130100003
Queso Fresco Promoción 10 oz. Plastic Container 673130100078
Queso Fresco de Hoja 12 oz. Plastic Container 673130100065
Queso Fresco 5 Lb. Vacuum Packed 673130100058
Queso Fresco Guatemala 12 oz. Plastic Container 673130100027
Rio Grande Food Products, Inc. Chirilagua Queso de Hacienda 12 oz. Plastic Container 738529005571
Queso Fresco Campestre con Hoja 14 oz. Plastic Container 812324031161
Queso Fresco Campestre Artesanal 14 oz. Plastic Container 738529002518
Queso Fresco con Hoja 14 oz. Plastic Container 738529004581
Queso Fresco Yorito 12 oz. Plastic Container 738529005564
Queso Fresco Olancho 14 oz. Plastic Container 812324031222
Cuajada Fresca Guatemalteca 12 oz. Plastic Container 738529001276
Cuajada Fresca Hondureña 12 oz. Plastic Container 738529001269
Cuajada Fresca Salvadoreña 12 oz. Plastic Container 738529001252
Rio Lindo Queso Fresco Mexicano 12 oz. Plastic Container 718122088587
Queso Fresco Hondureño 12 oz. Plastic Container 718122088591
Queso Fresco Salvadoreño 12 oz. Plastic Container 718122088607

As of February 11, 2021, the CDC reports seven people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes from four states.

El Abuelito has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and El Abuelito continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.

As the FDA stated, about this outbreak investigation, the Connecticut Department of Public Health collected product samples of El Abuelito-brand Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses from a store where a sick person bought cheeses. Sample analysis showed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in samples of El Abuelito Queso Fresco sold in 10 oz packages, marked as Lot A027 with an expiration date of 02/26/2021. Samples are currently undergoing Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis to determine if the Listeria monocytogenes found in these samples is a match to the outbreak strain. At this time, there is not enough evidence to determine if this outbreak is linked to El Abuelito Queso Fresco.

Consumers who have purchased the stated Queso Fresco products are urged not to consume and to return product to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact directly El Abuelito Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST at (973) 345-3503.





* We believe that none of the product being recalled were processed or offered through the national office
* We strongly encourage you to notify your agencies within one business day from receipt of this notice.
* ALL cased and uncased inventories, both at the member level and agency level, need to be checked. This product may have entered member and agency warehouses through salvage, local donations, TEFAP, local purchases, retail pickups, food drives, or other avenues.
* For additional local details, please contact the Health Department(s) for the area(s) your food bank serves.
About Feeding America Recall Notices

The Feeding America national office issues notifications of all national Class I and II recalls–those involving a health hazard situation in which there is reasonable probability that eating the food will cause health problems or death–and other recalls that may affect the safety of food supplied to network members.

The national office strongly encourages all member product solicitors, operations managers, and others involved in food and grocery distribution to regularly consult resources provided by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at http://www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fsis_Recalls/index.asp. Additionally, members can often receive information on national, state, and local recalls by contacting their local health departments.

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35 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60601