A Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has caused Delaware-based Roos Foods to recall sixteen varieties of cheese. According to Law360, seven people became ill in Maryland and one person died in California because of the tainted products. Roos Foods, a company that specializes in handmade dairy products of Latin origin, has halted production pending an investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The recalled products include Amigo, Santa Rosa De Lima and Anita brands distributed throughout retail stores in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. They are sold in 12 and 16 ounce sizes and packaged in plastic bag and rigid clamshells.
Two pairs of mothers and newborns, and one additional new born were hospitalized in Maryland after becoming ill. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that they all ate soft or semi-soft cheese and shopped at the same Hispanic food chain at different locations. The agency said that consumers should not eat any of the products and restaurants should not sell or serve it.
Several other agencies have also issued warnings over the Listeria outbreak. On February 15th, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said that consumers should not eat the products after finding Listeria monocytogenes in fresh cheese cured samples. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also found tainted samples and issued a similar warning. The District of Columbia followed suit and warned against consumption on February 20th.
Young children, the frail or elderly and people with compromised immune systems can die from infections caused by Listeria. The bacteria has been associated with ready-to-eat foods, including products that have unpasteurized milk and dairy, processed deli meats, hot dogs, smoked seafood and store-prepared deli salads. Last year, Kroger Co. recalled its prepackaged spinach and Dole Food Co. recalled its salads because of a Listeria contamination.