Torres Hillsdale Country Cheese Recalled for Listeria

Torres Hillsdale Country Cheese of Reading, Michigan has recalled Asadero and Oaxaca soft Mexican-style cheeses due to potential <"">Listeria contamination, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just announced.

A routine sample of Asadero cheese, taken by an inspector from the Michigan Department of Agriculture’s Food and Dairy Division on February 23, 2009, was subsequently tested by the Michigan Department of Agriculture Laboratory and discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The Torres Hillsdale Country Cheese products were distributed in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin and were then distributed to retails stores and delis in 10-pound balls and 16- and 12-ounce plastic packages, sold under the name “Aguas Calientes.” The recalled cheeses were also sold in six-pound blocks, shrink-wrapped in clear plastic, under the name “El Jaliciense.” Packaging may also include a label with the name “Torres Hillsdale Country Cheese LLC,” said the FDA. The recall encompasses all production dates between August 1, 2008 (expiration date 10/29/2008) and February 27, 2009 (expiration date 5/10/2009).

The FDA is advising consumers and retailers to return all unused, recalled products to Torres Hillsdale Country Cheese and to contact Salvador Torres, Manager, Torres Hillsdale Country Cheese LLC at 1-517-368-5990 with any questions or concerns.

Listeriosis, the food poisoning generated by Listeria monocytogenes, is particularly dangerous to the elderly, pregnant women, newborns, those with chronic medical conditions, people with HIV, or those undergoing chemotherapy. In serious cases, the disease spreads to the nervous system, causing headaches, stiff neck, and convulsions. Listeriosis can also cause meningitis and blood poisoning in immune-compromised individuals.

In pregnant women, Listeriosis can result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or birth of a baby suffering from the infection. Pregnant women are about 20 times likelier than others to be infected, with about one-third of Listeriosis cases occurring during pregnancy; the incidence of Listeriosis in newborns is 8.6 per 100,000 live births and the perinatal and neonatal mortality rate (stillbirths and early infant deaths) is 80 percent.

Listeria monocytogenes is responsible for an estimated 2,500 illnesses in the United States annually, with about 200 in every 1,000 cases resulting in death. Listeriosis can take days, even weeks, to develop and can present in anything from a mild flu-like illness to meningitis and septicemia.

Earlier this month we reported on a Peregrina Cheese Corporation of New York City Queso Fresco cheese recall was announced, also over concerns about Listeria monocytogenes contamination. That recall was the third in a series of recalls by Peregrina Cheese, with a second recall implemented in February and the first in December 2007, all due to possible Listeria contamination.

Yesterday, we reported that Neco Foods, LLC of Lantana, Florida recalled 231 cases of seven-ounce, 32-ounce, and five-pound packages of Atlantis Brand SMOKED FISH DIP, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

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