Listeria Outbreak Update: CDC Warns to Avoid All Cheese Sold Under the Brand Name El Abuelito

Atlanta, GA… CDC has updated its food safety alert for a Listeria outbreak linked to queso fresco made by El Abuelito Cheese Inc.:

Key points:

  • CDC has expanded its advice to not eat, sell, or serve any cheese sold under the brand name El Abuelito, in addition to recalled queso fresco cheeseexternal icon sold under the brand names of El Abuelito, Rio Grande, and Rio Lindo. CDC is concerned that any cheese made or handled at this facility could be contaminated and make people sick.
  • Three new illnesses were reported this week. This outbreak has sickened a total of 10 people in four states (Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Virginia).
  • Nine people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
  • Interviews with sick people and laboratory data show that queso fresco made by El Abuelito Cheese Inc. is a likely source of this outbreak.
  • Connecticut officials found the outbreak strain of Listeria in samples of El Abuelito brand queso fresco cheese collected from a store where a sick person bought cheese.

What You Should Do:

  • Do not eat any of the recalled queso fresco cheeses or any cheese sold under the El Abuelito brand. Throw them away or return any recalled cheeses to where you bought them.
  • Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator, containers, and surfaces that may have touched the cheeses. Listeria can survive in the refrigerator and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.

About Listeria:

  • Listeria can cause severe illness (known as invasive listeriosis) when the bacteria spread beyond the gut to other parts of the body.
  • Pregnant people typically experience only fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. However, Listeria infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
  • People who are not pregnant may experience headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.
  • Symptoms of severe illness usually start 1 to 4 weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria, but may start as early as the same day or as late as 70 days after.

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.



CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.

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