March 12, 2014 — The FDA has suspended the registration of Roos Foods Inc., a cheese manufacturer located in Delaware, after linking products to an outbreak of Listeria food poisoning that has sickened 7 people in Maryland and killed one person in California.
The FDA determined that “there was a reasonable probability of food manufactured, processed, packed, or held by Roos Foods causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) outbreak investigation, inspectors found insanitary conditions, including:
- Roof was leaking so badly that water was raining down on cheese processing equipment and storage tanks.
- Standing water on the floor in the cheese curd processing room next to vats of cheese.
- Metal roof and ceiling were rusting with metal flaking.
- Food residue found on “clean” equipment.
- Open milk storage tanks were not capped, which could allow contamination.
- Floors, wall, and equipment were in poor repair and deteriorating.
The FDA also had 12 positive swabs for Listeria, and 11 swabs matched the “DNA-fingerprint” of the outbreak strain.
Roos Foods Cheese Recall
Roos Foods initiated the recall in February and expanded it in March. Consumers should not eat cheese under the brand-name Mexicana, Amigo, Santa Rosa de Lima, or Anita. The recall includes all lots and all product sizes of:
- Cuajada En Terron
- Cuajada/Cuajadita Cacer
- Cuajada Fresca
- Queso Fresco Round
- Queso Cojito Molido
- Queso Duro Blanco (hard cheese)
- Queso Duro Viejo (hard cheeses)
- Queso de Huerta
- Quesco Fresco
The cheeses were packaged in wrapped Styrofoam trays, clear plastic wrap, vacuum-packs, or rigid plastic containers.
Roos Foods is also recalling all product sizes and containers of sour cream and butter, including:
- Santa Rosa de Lima Crema Salvadorena Cultured Sour Cream
- Santa Rosa de Lima Mantequilla de Bolsa Tradicion Centroamericana
- Crema Pura Mexicana Cultured Sour Cream
- La Chapina Crema Guatemalteca Guatemalan Style Cream
- Amigo Brand Crema Centroamericana Cultured Sour Cream
What is Listeria?
Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that can grow at refrigerator temperatures (about 40ºF). The longer food is left in the refrigerator, the more time Listeria has to grow. Cross-contamination can occur in unclean refrigerators, cutting surfaces, or utensils.
Listeriosis can be fatal, especially in children, the elderly, and people with weak immune systems. In pregnant women, infection can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and serious illness or death in newborns.
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