CDC: Listeria Outbreak In Cheeses, Dairy Products Sold At 2 Major Grocery Stores, 2 Deaths And 23 Hospitalized Across 11 States

Whole Foods Cheeses. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
11:08 AM – Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Some of the United States’ dairy products are suspected of being the source of a Listeria outbreak that has claimed two lives and hospitalized 23 others so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


According to investigators, one of the reported brands, Rizo-Lopez Foods, has voluntarily recalled tainted cheeses, sour cream, and yogurt due to the potentially fatal listeria infection.

Several large chain stores, including Whole Foods and Food City, carry the brands of the cheeses affected.

According to the CDC, in 11 states, 26 Americans in all have become severely ill, and 23 of them have even been admitted to hospitals. Additionally, there have been two confirmed deaths linked to the outbreak: one in Texas and one in California. The 11 states affected include California, Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

The organization is recalling 61 dairy-related products, including yogurt, cheese, sour cream, and crema, which were distributed under 13 different brands that are carried by major grocery stores such as Food City and 365 Whole Foods Market.

The CDC advised consumers to “discard any contaminated goods, thoroughly clean their refrigerator and other surfaces, and see a doctor immediately” if they have any of these symptoms after consuming the above dairy products: fever, headache, stiff neck, fatigue, pains in the muscles, loss of balance, disorientation, and seizures.

Not all patients were questioned, but the CDC did ask a number of those who were very ill about the items they had consumed within a month of being sick. According to the agency, interviews are also still being conducted.

Out of the 22 patients who underwent interviews, 16 (or 73%) mentioned consuming cotija, queso fresco, or other comparable cheeses.

The age range of the hospital patients was under one year old to 88 years old.

The cheese brand Don Francisco was the most reported brand of cheese consumed by the hospitalized individuals.

Additionally, the organization collected bacterial DNA fingerprint samples for whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS revealed a strong genetic relationship between the bacteria in the samples from the sick patients, indicating that the items the affected individuals consumed most likely contributed to their illness.

At Rizo-Lopez’s facility, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gathered samples and conducted investigations.

The Listeria outbreak strain was also discovered on a container used to store cheeses before they are processed. Eating food infected with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes is typically how the bacterial infections are contracted.

The majority of people who consume Listeria-contaminated food will not become severely ill. However, in certain cases, it can still result in mortality, miscarriage in pregnant women, disorientation, and seizures. This can occur if the infection affects the central nervous system in addition to the intestines, which can cause numbness and seizures.

Genetics also play a key role in how one handles Listeria.

According to CDC estimates, each year there are 1,600 Americans with Listeria, and around 260 of them later die from the bacteria.

Products recalled due to Listeria contamination 
Product Name Brand 
Blanco SuaveTio Francisco 
Cotija Food City 
Cotija Rizo Bros 
Cotija San Carlos 
Cotija Tio Francisco 
Cotija (Grated) Casa Cardenas 
Cotija (Grated) Rizo Bros 
Cotija (Grated) Tio Francisco 
Cotija Enchilado Casa Cardenas 
Cotija Enchilado Food City 
Cotija Enchilado Tio Francisco 
Cotija Rallado Tio Francisco 
Crema Centroamericana Campesino 
Crema Centroamericana Tio Francisco 
Crema La Deliciosa Tio Francisco 
Crema La Suprema Tio Francisco 
Crema Latina Tio Francisco 
Crema Latina Tio Francisco 
Crema Menonita Campesino 
Crema Mexicana Campesino 
Crema Mexicana Food City 
Crema Mexicana San Carlos 
Crema Mexicana Santa Maria 
Crema Mexicana Tio Francisco 
Crema Nortena Tio Francisco 
Crema Santa Isabel Centroamericana (No brand name) 
Crema Santa Isabel Latina (No brand name) 
Crema Santa Isabel Mexicana (No brand name) 
Fresco San Carlos 
Fresco Tio Francisco 
Fresco (Michoacano) El Huache 
Fresco (Michoacano) La Ordena 
Fresco (Michoacano) Tio Francisco 
Oaxaca Food City 
Oaxaca Rizo Bros 
Oaxaca San Carlos 
Oaxaca Tio Francisco 
Oaxaca (Shredded) Tio Francisco 
Panela Campesino 
Panela Dos Ranchitos 
Panela Food City 
Panela La Ordena 
Panela San Carlos 
Panela Tio Francisco 
Panela Barra Tio Francisco 
Queso Crema Food City 
Queso Crema San Carlos 
Queso Fresco Campesino 
Queso Fresco Don Francisco 
Queso Fresco Dos Ranchitos 
Queso Fresco Food City 
Queso Fresco Rio Grande 
Queso Fresco Rizo Bros 
Queso Fresco San Carlos 
Queso Fresco Santa Maria 
Queso Fresco Tio Francisco 
Queso Para Freir Tio Francisco 
Queso Seco Tio Francisco 
Requeson Tio Francisco 
Ricotta (Whole or Part Skim Milk) 365 Whole Foods Market 
Yogurt (Plain, Strawberry, Peach & Mango) Tio Francisco 

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