A total of 13 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from 4 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 20, 2020, to March 17, 2021, with 12 illnesses occurring in 2021.
Sick people ranged in age from less than 1 to 75 years, with a median age of 52. Twelve people were Hispanic, and seven people were female. Twelve people were hospitalized, and one death was reported from Maryland. Four people got sick during their pregnancy, resulting in two pregnancy losses and one premature birth; the fourth person remained pregnant after recovering.
State and local public health officials interviewed people about the foods they ate in the month before they got sick. Of the 11 people interviewed, eight (73%) people reported eating Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses. Among the eight people, seven (88%) reported eating queso fresco – four specifically reported brands made by El Abuelito Cheese Inc, including El Abuelito brand and Rio Grande brand.
Connecticut officials collected samples of El Abuelito brand Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses for testing from a store where a sick person reported buying these types of cheeses. On February 19, WGS showed that the Listeria bacteria in El Abuelito brand queso fresco were closely related to the Listeria bacteria from sick people in this outbreak. This means that people likely got sick from eating this cheese.
On February 19, El Abuelito Cheese Inc. recalledexternal icon all queso fresco products made at their facility. They also stopped producing and distributing all their products.
On February 27, El Abuelito Cheese Inc. expanded their recallexternal icon to include all quesillo and requeson products that were made or packed at the same facility as the contaminated queso fresco.
Listeria: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $800 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as lettuce, polony, deli meat, cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.
If you or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Listeria attorneys for a free case evaluation.