A decadelong listeria outbreak that killed two people and sickened dozens more has been linked to a California cheese and dairy company.
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Costco and Trader Joe’s recall multiple items after listeria outbreak leaves 2 dead Full list
Trader Joe's and Costco are recalling multiple items each due to the risk they may be contaminated with listeria.Courtesy Trader Joe's and Costco

Costco, Trader Joe’s and more nationwide retailers have recalled dozens of products due to a risk that they’re contaminated with the bacteria listeria, which can be deadly for some groups if consumed.

The ongoing listeria outbreak is linked to cheese and other dairy products sold by Rizo López Foods, a company in Modesto, California, the Food and Drug Administration announced Feb. 6.

At least two people have died due to the outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency did not specify where the customers who died purchased the contaminated products.

Listeria cheese recall 2024 includes Costco and Trader Joe’s items

Rizo López foods has voluntarily recalled all cheeses and other dairy products made in its facility, roughly 60 items, due to a risk that they are contaminated with listeria, per the FDA.

The items were sold nationwide, including at Trader Joe’s and Costco. Both grocery stores have issued their own recalls of items that are affected by the Rizo López listeria outbreak.

The recalled Costco items are:

  • Chicken Street Taco Kit, item #11545, purchased between Jan. 25, 2024, and Feb. 6, 2024.
  • Rojo’s 6 Layer Dip, item #1345308, purchased between Dec. 27, 2023, and Feb. 6, 2024.
  • Don Pancho Cilantro Lime Crema, item #1341779, a package of two 16-ounce bottles, purchased between Jan. 19, 2024, and Feb. 6, 2024.
  • Don Pancho Crema Trio Pack, item #1796365, purchased between Jan. 17, 2024, and Feb. 6, 2024.
  • Southwest Chicken Wrap with Sauce, item #29433, purchased between Oct. 27, 2023, and Feb. 6, 2024.

The recalled Trader Joe’s items are:

  • Chicken Enchiladas Verde (sku 58292)
  • Cilantro Salad Dressing (sku 36420)
  • Elote Chopped Salad Kit (sku 74768)
  • Southwest Salad (sku 56077)

Both retailers said that anyone who has purchased these items should not consume them and instead contact either Trader Joe’s or Costco for a full refund.

Other recalled cheese and dairy products due to listeria:

The FDA said in its announcement that queso fresco and cotija cheese and other dairy products included in the recall were also sold under these brand names at retailers and deli counters nationwide:

  • Tio Francisco
  • Don Francisco
  • Rizo Bros
  • Rio Grande
  • Food City
  • El Huache
  • La Ordena
  • San Carlos
  • Campesino
  • Santa Maria
  • Dos Ranchitos
  • Casa Cardenas
  • 365 Whole Foods Market

The FDA website features a full list of the recalled products.

Listeria Outbreak Linked to Queso Fresco and Cotija Cheese
Rizo-López Foods announced a recall of roughly 60 cheese and dairy products after they were linked to a decades-long listeria outbreak that killed two people and sickened dozens more.CDC

Listeria outbreak 2024

The outbreak, which has been linked to illnesses as far back as June 2014, has made at least 26 people in 11 states sick, including 23 hospitalizations. Two people, one in California and another in Texas, died after consuming the contaminated products, according to the CDC.

The CDC originally investigated the outbreak in 2017 and 2021. Evidence in those previous investigations identified queso fresco and other similar cheeses as a potential source of the outbreak, but a specific brand could not be identified.

After new illnesses were reported in December 2023, the CDC and the FDA reopened the investigation.

In January 2024, a sample of Rizo Bros Aged Cotija tested positive for the same strain of listeria that made consumers sick in the original outbreak during a test conducted by the Hawaii State Department of Health’s Food and Drug Branch.

The FDA later conducted an on-site inspection at Rizo Lopez Foods’s facility, where it “found the outbreak strain of Listeria on a container where cheeses are kept before they are packaged,” per the CDC.

The CDC is urging consumers not to eat the recalled products and to throw away any of the products if they are found at home.

Consumers should also clean any refrigerators, containers, and surfaces that may have touched the recalled products.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-833-296-2233, which will be monitored 24 hours a day.

What is listeria?

Listeria is a bacteria found in water, soil and animal feces, according to Mayo Clinic.

It can contaminate many different types of foods and survive refrigeration. When a person consumes listeria and it makes them sick, the infection is called listeriosis. It is especially dangerous for older, immunocompromised or pregnant individuals.

Listeria infection is the third-leading cause of death from foodborne illness in the U.S.

Listeria symptoms

Symptoms of listeria infection, according to the CDC, can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Neck stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Seizures

Pregnant people who become infected with listeria may only experience symptoms of fever, muscle aches and tiredness, but an infection can cause pregnancy loss, premature birth or a life-threatening infection in a newborn.

How long after eating a contaminated food does listeria kick in?

Symptoms of a listeria infection typically start within two weeks after eating contaminated food, but they may start as early as the same day or as late as 10 weeks afterward.

Consumers who experience symptoms after eating a recalled product should call a health care provider immediately.

Fluid milk consumption has seen a decline among US consumers since the 1960s.

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