Salmonella Prompts Recall Of Rico Queso Duro Blanco (White Hard Cheese)

A recall of 16-ounce packages of Rico Queso duro blanco (white hard cheese), distributed by Flores Food of America, is being recalled because the cheese may have been contaminated with <"">Salmonella, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration just announced.

The recalled Rico Queso cheese product comes in a 16-ounce, clear plastic package under the Rico Queso name brand. The recalled cheese was distributed in the state of Florida in local retail stores, and the contamination was discovered after routine testing by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services revealed the presence of the Salmonella pathogen. Production has been suspended while the company continues its investigation into the source of the problem.

To date, no illnesses have been reported in connection with this problem. The FDA is also advising consumers who have purchased the recalled Rico Queso white hard cheese to return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Rico Queso at 1-561-541-5206.

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Rarely, Salmonella infection can result in the organism entering the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e. infected aneurysms), endocarditis, and arthritis.

Recent reports have concluded that infection in young children, under age four, are more unduly affected by these pathogens and that long-term pathogenic effects might be linked to “more disability, lost productivity, doctor visits, and hospitalizations,” said the LATimes previously. The paper also cited “premature death, paralysis, kidney failure,” and life-long “seizures or mental disability” which occur long after initial symptoms.

According to the reports, food borne pathogens, such as Salmonella tend to more adversely affect children under four, said the LATimes; about half of the reported cases affect people under 15. The LATimes noted that smaller doses of the toxins make smaller, younger people sick, and “their less-experienced immune systems” cannot fight the pathogens as effectively as the systems of adults.

Food poisoning can also lead to other adverse health effects, some long-term and serious, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), specifically in people who suffered from Salmonella poisoning, with the risk increasing three-fold. The risk increases to five-fold if the patient was hospitalized close to the illness. More than 600,000 Americans have some kind of IBD every year, which encompasses a group of disorders, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which cause the intestines to become inflamed. IBD can cause abdominal cramps and pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and bleeding from the intestines.

Victims infection with Salmonella are also at risk of developing a form of reactive arthritis called Reiter’s Syndrome, which typically affects large weight-bearing joints such as the knees and the lower back. The LATimes noted that Salmonella is the number one cause of food borne illness in the U.S. and is typically found in foods with animal origins, causing 16,000 illnesses and 556 deaths annually.

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