In addition toE. coli and campylobacter in goat’s milk and E. coli in bison meat, Azteca Linda Corp. of Brooklyn, NY, this weekend announced a recall of its Queso Fresco and Queso Hebra cheeses with an expiration date of July 7, 2010.  The recall was announced because the products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Queso Fresco and Queso Hebra cheeses are made from raw milk. 

The Queso Fresco and Hebra cheeses were distributed within New York State (Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, Newburgh) and to Bayonne, New Jersey through retail stores between the dates of June 7, 2010 and June 9, 2010.  The Queso Fresco is packed in a hard plastic container or wrapped in aluminum foil labeled with the brand name Queso El Azteca , UPC 0 23986 92692 8, and expiration date July 7, 2010.  the Queso Hebra is packaged in a vacuum sealed plastic bag, Net Weight 14 oz. and Net Weight 5 lbs., and labeled with the brand Queso El Azteca (Queso Oaxaca) with the expiration date of July 7, 2010.

Of course, both of the recalled cheeses are made from raw milk.  Queso Fresco, sometimes called "bathtub cheese" because small-time producers sometimes make it there, has been the cause of many outbreaks and recalls over the years, including in May of this year when it caused a Nevada child to develop a very severe illness.  Because queso fresco is made with unpasteurized milk in unsanitary and unlicensed facilities, it poses a serious health threat to consumers, particularly the elderly, young, pregnant women, and people who have weakened immune systems.

The Azteca Linda recall occurred due to environmental sampling and inspection by the FDA which revealed that certain areas within the facility contained the bacteria.