On Wednesday,  June 15, 2011, New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine warned consumers not to consume certain Queso Fresco “Fresh Cheese” made by Quesos CentroAmericano Corp. at 35 Hansen Avenue, Freeport, New York (formerly located at 900 S. Second Street, Ronkonkoma, New York) due to possible Staphylococcus aureus contamination. Although there have been no reports of illness associated with the product, consumers who have purchased the specified lot of Queso Fresco should return the product to the place of purchase or discard it.

According to the press release:

The recalled fresh Spanish-style cheese is sold in 5-pound foil tray packages with a label declaring a plant number of 36-9845 and a product lot code of 05/31/11 affixed to the bottom of the package.  The manufacturer presented on the package is Quesos CentroAmericano Corp. The product was distributed to stores, delis and restaurants on Long Island, New York.

A routine sample of the cheese, taken by an inspector from the Department’s Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services on June 7, 2011 was subsequently tested by the New York State Food Laboratory and discovered to be contaminated with high levels of Staphylococcus aureus.  On June 13, 2011, the manufacturer was notified of the positive test result and voluntarily recalled the product.   

Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that usually causes rapid food poisoning symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, retching, abdominal cramping and prostration.  In more severe cases, headache, muscle cramping and transient changes in blood pressure and pulse may occur.  Recovery generally takes two days.  All people are susceptible.  Death is very rare, however such cases have occurred among the elderly, infants and severely debilitated persons.