In a chilling turn of events, health officials are sounding the alarm bells across the nation as a deadly outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes has been traced back to dairy products from Rizo-López Foods in California. Yes, that innocuous-looking cheese or yogurt in your fridge could potentially be a ticking time bomb, harboring a bacteria that spells serious trouble.

delicious cheese
Credit: gresei
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So, what’s the scoop on this nationwide listeria issue? Let’s break it down:

First off, what’s the deal with Listeria monocytogenes? Well, it’s not your run-of-the-mill bacteria. This bad boy can cause some seriously nasty infections, especially in vulnerable groups like young kids, the elderly, and folks with weakened immune systems. We’re talking fever, headache, nausea – the whole nine yards. By the way, if left untreated it could lead to death in some individuals. And for pregnant women, it’s even scarier, potentially leading to miscarriages or stillbirths.

Credit: FDA / CDC
Credit: FDA / CDC
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Now, let’s talk cheese. And yogurt. And sour cream. Basically, any dairy product that’s been churned out by Rizo-López Foods is under the microscope. They’ve issued a voluntary recall on a bunch of their goodies because of this Listeria scare. Think brands like Tio Francisco, Don Francisco, and 365 Whole Foods Market. Yeah, there's a pretty extensive list of products too.

Credit: FDA / CDC Some of the listeria affected products to watch for.
Credit: FDA / CDC
Some of the listeria affected products to watch for.
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But hold up – it’s not just the fancy supermarkets that are affected. This stuff has been making the rounds everywhere, from El Super to Food City to Numero Uno Markets, and other area grocers. If you’ve bought dairy products that look like the ones above, you might want to take a closer look at what’s invading in your fridge.

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Now, here’s where things get real. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been keeping tabs on this situation, and it’s not looking good. We’re talking cases popping up in states like California, Colorado, Arizona, and even as far as Georgia, and North Carolina. It’s like a nationwide game of Listeria bingo, and nobody wants to be a winner.

Credit: FDA / CDC Recall list of possibly Listeria contaminated products.
Credit: FDA / CDC
Recall list of possibly Listeria contaminated products.
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And get this – this isn’t the companies first time dealing with Listeria outbreaks. The CDC has been down this road before, investigating similar incidents in 2017 and 2021. But then, they couldn’t quite put their finger on the culprit. It’s like a mystery novel with a cheesy twist. But now, the plot thickens as Rizo-López Foods has been caught red-handed with the outbreak strain in their cheese samples. Talk about a smoking gun.

Credit: FDA / CDC Recall list of possibly Listeria contaminated products.
Credit: FDA / CDC
Recall list of possibly Listeria contaminated products.
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The FDA is not done inspecting Rizo-López Foods' facility and cracking down on the source of the contamination. And they’re not leaving any cheese unturned – they even found the Listeria strain on a container where the cheeses are stored.

Credit: FDA / CDC Recall list of possibly Listeria contaminated products.
Credit: FDA / CDC
Recall list of possibly Listeria contaminated products.
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So, what’s the bottom line on this Listeria outbreak?

Check your fridge, folks. If you’ve got any of the recalled products lurking in there, it’s time to bid them a quick farewell. And while you’re at it, give your fridge a good scrubbing too – Listeria can be sneaky, lurking on surfaces and spreading like wildfire.

And remember, if you start feeling under the weather after indulging in some of these cheesy delights, don’t brush it off. Reach out to your healthcare provider pronto, especially if you’re pregnant, elderly, or have a weakened immune system. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to Listeria.

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