Listeria Outbreak: 26 Infected, 2 Dead from Recalled Dairy Products

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a food safety alert for recalled cheeses, yogurts, and sour creams potentially linked to an eleven-state outbreak of listeria. The outbreak has sickened 26 people, hospitalized 23, and led to two deaths. Rizo-López Foods has issued a voluntary recall for all cheeses and other dairy products made in its Modesto, California facility due to potential contamination with Listeria monocytogene.

The recalled products include cheese, yogurt, and sour cream, sold under various brand names such as Tio Francisco, Don Francisco, Rizo Bros, Rio Grande, and others. The CDC has confirmed that 26 people across eleven states have been infected with the outbreak strain of listeria, with 23 of them requiring hospitalization and two deaths reported in Texas and California.

The CDC emphasized that the “true number” of affected individuals is likely higher than reported, as some may recover without medical care or go untested. An investigation into this strain of listeria began in 2017 and 2021, and it was reopened in January 2024 after new illnesses were reported and the outbreak strain was found in a cheese sample from Rizo-López Foods.

The symptoms of Listeria can cause severe and even fatal infections in young children and individuals with weakened immune systems. Among pregnant women, it can also result in miscarriage or stillbirth. Symptoms generally start within 2 weeks of consuming contaminated food, although they may appear as early as the same day or as late as 10 weeks afterward.

The CDC advised consumers not to eat any of the recalled cheeses or dairy products, and to throw them away or return them to the place of purchase. Rizo-López Foods urged customers to check their refrigerators and freezers for any of the recalled products and dispose of them, and provided a contact number for inquiries.

As the investigation continues, consumers are encouraged to remain vigilant and ensure that the products they are consuming are not part of the recall. If anyone experiences symptoms of Listeria infection, they should seek medical attention.

It is important for consumers to stay informed about food recalls and take appropriate action to protect their health and well-being. This incident serves as a reminder of the potential risks associated with contaminated food products and the importance of swift and decisive action in response to such outbreaks.