The FDA Is Investigating A Listeria Outbreak That May Be Linked To Cheeses Like Queso Fresco

The Centers for Disease Control and Food & Drug Administration are investigating a Listeria outbreak that has impacted individuals in several states. Though the investigation is ongoing, the outbreak is thought to be linked to “Hispanic-style cheeses” like queso fresco.
There is no brand or type of cheese that has been determined as the source, but the investigation is looking into queso fresco, queso blanco, and queso panela. Seven people have been hospitalized with Listeria symptoms across Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Virginia.
A general rule of thumb by the FDA is to make sure your fresh and soft cheeses like queso fresco are made with pasteurized milk and say so on the label and packaging. Pasteurization of milk generally kills the Listeria bacteria although if there are unsanitary conditions in a manufacturing plant pasteurized milk products can still be contaminated.
Listeria is a bacteria that causes adverse health affects like nausea, fatigue, body aches, headache, and fever. Communities at higher risk of harm from the Listeria bacteria are those that are 65 years of age or older and people who are pregnant. The FDA is advising individuals in either of those groups to not consume Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses while they continue to pinpoint the exact product and brand responsible for the multi-state outbreak.
The last recorded illness was on January 22 and Maryland has seen the most hospitalizations linked to the outbreak, with four out of the recorded seven people residing in the state. The FDA will continue providing related up-to-date information on their site.

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