A sweeping recall of cheese and other dairy products linked to ais expanding to include ready-to-eat enchiladas, snacks, dips, dressings, wraps, salad and taco kits sold at major retailers including Amazon, Costco, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe's and Walmart.
The still-growing array of products impacted began six weeks ago, on January 11, with Modesto, Calif.-based Rizo-López Foods announcingafter Hawaiian officials found listeria in a sample.
Less than four weeks later, in a notice published on February 6 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the California cheese and dairy company expanded its recall to include more than 60 yogurt, cheese and sour cream products sold nationwide, saying they might be a potential source of a nearly decade-long, and still ongoing, nationwide Listeria monocytogenes outbreak.
At least 26 people in 11 states have been stricken in the ongoing outbreak, with 23 hospitalized and the latest illness occurring in December, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One person died in California in 2017, and another fatality occurred in Texas in 2020, the CDC said in its latest update.
Since the first and then expanded recall, there have been 18 additional ones including vending-machine sandwiches, salad and taco kits, dips and snacks sold by major retailers nationwide.
The states where people have taken ill include eight in California, four in Arkansas and Colorado, and two residents of Tennessee and two in Texas. One person got sick in each of the following half a dozen states: Florida, Georgia Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington.
The initial recalls included 10 types of cheeses produced by Rizo-López: blanco suave, cotija, oaxaca, panela, queso crema, queso fresco, queso para freir, queso seco, requeson and ricotta, according to the CDC. The cheeses sold nationwide under many brands.
Foods containing the company's recalled cheese, crema or yogurt include salads and salad kits, tacos and taco kits, burritos, enchiladas, sandwiches, dressings, sauces and dips. All sold under many different brands, such as Whole Foods Market, with products being recalled on a near daily basis.
Retailers where product was sold unbranded as taco kits and meals include: Albertsons, Carrs-Safeway, Costco, Eagle, Lucky, Jack & Olive, Pavilions, Randalls, Safeway, Save Mart, Shaw's, Sprig & Sprout, Sprouts, Star Market, Stater Bros. Markets, Tom Thumb, and Vons, according to the FDA.
The ancillary recalls continued with another one posted Thursday by the FDA, which involved ready-to-eat enchiladas sold at supermarkets in northern Utah.
Meantime, Bristol Farms on Valentine's Day recalled chicken taco kits containing Rizo-López's recalled cojita cheese, the California market chain said.
The single-serving kits were sold at Bristol Farms California retail locations in 13 cities: Hollywood, Manhattan Beach, Newport Beach, Palm Desert, Rolling Hills, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, South Pasadena, West Hollywood, Westchester, Westwood, Woodland Hills and Yorba Linda.
Other recalls include all Chicken Street Taco Meal Kit units sold at Sprouts Farmers Markets in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. The kits include a crema cup with the recalled cheese, according to a recall notice published by the FDA.
In addition, MG Foods of Melbourne, Fla., recalled a Ham & Cotija Torta Sandwich on Telera Roll sold in vending machines and grab-and-go retail venues in Florida. The recalled sandwiches had use-by-dates of Feb. 9, 2024, to Feb. 16, 2024, the company stated.
Glendale, Calif.-based The Perfect Bite Co. is recalling Mexican Style Street Corn Bites containing cotija cheese made by Rizo-López, The product was sold by Costco warehouses in California and Hawaii and had a best-by date of Feb. 21, 2025, according to the February 10 recall notice posted by the FDA.
Attention Costco shoppers
Costco sent notices to members during the first week of February alerting them to recalled cheese in its Southwest Chicken Wrap with Sauce product sold at its delis between Oct. 27, 2023 and February 6, 2024. Another Costco member notice involved chicken taco kits sold between Jan. 25, 2023, and Feb. 6, 2024. A third member notice involves Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls with best-by dates in January 2025.
Other recalls announced in recent days include one involving four types of Mexican sandwiches, or tortas, containing the cotija cheese made by Fresh & Ready Foods of San Fernando, Calif., and sold in Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah. Braga Fresh of Soledad, Calif., is also recalling Marketside Bacon Ranch Crunch Chopped Salad Kits containing recalled cheese and sold at certain Walmart stores in California and Nevada.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service is also keeping a list of meat and poultry products that include the recalled cheese. That incudes Chicken Chile Verde burritos with rice, black beans and monetary cheese sold nationwide by Amazon Kitchen. (Labels of the recalled meat-and-poultry products can be seen here.)
Fresh Express on Friday said it's recalling two salad kits with condiment packs containing the recalled cheese.
Sold at stores in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Utah and Wyoming, the Fresh Express Salsa! Ensalada Salad and Marketside Southwest Chopped Salad kits have use-by dates ranging from Jan. 6, 2024 to Feb. 20, 2024, according to the notice posted by the Food and Drug Administration.
The recalled products contain condiment packs with use-by dates ranging from Feb. 28, 2024, through April 4, 2024, it added.
The recalls also include products sold at Albertson's, Costco, H-E-B and Trader Joe's after Fresh Creative Foods — a unit of Reser's Fine Foods — recalled assorted dressings, sauces and a street taco meal kit (See a list of the recalled food here.)
Salad kits sold at Costco, Walmart and Winco are also being recalled because they contain Rizo-López cheese, Irwindale, Calif.-based Ready Pac Foods said. The potentially tainted-with-bacteria kits were distributed by Ready Pac in 15,751 cases manufactured between December 2023 through February of this year.
Additionally, BrightFarms of Irvington, New York, is recalling Southwest Chipotle salad kits with best-by-dates between Dec. 13, 2023, and Feb. 22, 2024, because they contain potentially tainted cotija cheese, according to a company notice posted by the FDA.
The affected cheese is enclosed inside the kits and have has a best-by-date through March 27, 2024. The recalled products were sold by retailers in Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington D.C.
Potential for cross-contamination
Dole Fresh Vegetables is recalling Dole-branded and private-label salad kits such as President's Choice, processed on the same manufacturing line as the recalled cheese, due to the potential for cross-contamination. The salad products were sold in 25 states and five Canadian provinces, Dole said.
The investigation into the outbreak is ongoing, according to the FDA.
Consumers are urged to discard the recalled products. Surfaces and containers that came in contact with the products should be sanitized, as listeria can survive in refrigerated environments and spread.
Listeria is most likely to affect pregnant women and newborns, people 65 and older, and those with weakened immune systems, according to the CDC. Infection symptoms typically start within two weeks of eating contaminated food and can include fever, muscle aches, nausea, tiredness, vomiting and diarrhea. More serious cases may also include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.
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