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Listeria Fears Prompt Recall of Cotija and Sour Cream

Listeria Fears Prompt Recall of Cotija and Sour Cream

January 22, 2015 — A recall involving Hispanic-style soft cheeses has expanded to include sour cream and Cotija cheese that may be contaminated with Listeria.

The Washington State Department of Health has reported three cases of food poisoning, including two hospitalizations and one death.

Queseria Bendita is based in Yakima, Washington. Victims were located in Yakima, King, and Pierce counties.

In addition to Panela, Queso Fresco, and Requeson cheeses that were recalled last week, Queseria Bendita is also recalling the following products:

  • Sour cream (crema agria): Sold in 1-lb tub, UPC 0 94922 10608 7.
  • Cotija cheese: Sold in 1-lb clear plastic wrapper.

The products may be marked with a “best by” date of April 16, 2015. They are likely still in consumers’ homes because they have a shelf life of 90 days. All lots are being recalled.

Outbreaks of listeriosis are rare, but in the last few years there have been dozens of recalls involving soft cheeses because they were contaminated with Listeria.

The problem is that Listeria is commonly found in soil, especially in a farm environment. Soil on the udders of cows can cause mastitis, an inflammatory and potentially necrotic infection. When the cow is milked, Listeria can transfer into the milk.

Many soft cheeses are produced using unpasteurized, raw milk. Soft cheese is an ideal growing environment for Listeria because it has a lower pH and salt than hard cheese. Listeria can also grow under refrigeration temperatures.

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