If You Have These Cheeses at Home, the FDA Says Get Rid of Them Now

Sarah Crow
·3 min read

Whether you’re making a snack, a salad, or topping tacos, if you have one particular brand of cheese at home, you could be putting yourself and your loved ones in harm’s way. On Feb. 27, the Food&Drug Administration (FDA) announced that El Abuelito had expanded a recall of its cheese products due to potential bacterial contamination. Read on to discover if you have one of the affected cheeses at home—and what to do, if so. And for more foods to avoid, If You Have This Snack at Home, Get Rid of it Now, FDA Says.

Fifteen different cheese products are subject to the recall.

While the FDA stated in an earlier recall notice that it was El Abuelito's queso fresco that should be avoided, the recall has now expanded to include 15 different products. The cheese subject to recall now includes 12-oz., 5-lb., and 10-lb. loose vacuum packs and vacuum loose bags of El Abuelito Quesillo Abuelito; 10-lb. vacuum loose bags of El Viejito cheese; 5-lb. and 10-lb. vacuum bags of El Paisano cheese; 10-lb. vacuum bags of El Sabrosito cheese; 5-lb. vacuum bags of La Cima cheese; 5-lb. vacuum bags of Quesos Finos cheese; 14-lb. bags of San Carlos cheese; 5- and 10-lb. vacuum bags of Ideal cheese; 12-oz. clam shell containers of El Abuelito Requeson Ricotta; and 12-oz. clam shell containers of El Viejito Requeson/Ricotta. The individual UPC information for each product can be found on the recall notice. And for another dairy product that could put you at risk, check out If Your Milk Carton Doesn't Say This, the CDC Says Don't Drink It.

The cheese may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The recalled cheese may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, which typically causes temporary symptoms in healthy individuals like nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, severe headaches, high fevers, and stiffness. However, in the immunocompromised, the elderly, and young children, the bacteria can cause fatal infections; and in pregnant individuals, it can lead to miscarriage and stillbirth. And for more health hazards to steer clear of, If You Have These Seasonings at Home, Get Rid of Them, USDA Says.

The cheese was sold in seven states.

The El Abuelito products were initially distributed in just seven states—Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—but the recall notice explains that just because you don't live in one of those places doesn't mean you're in the clear.

“Retailers may have repackaged the bulk Quesillo into smaller containers and sold this repackage product to consume,” the FDA notice explains, so the labeling information on the recall notice may not account for every affected product. And for the latest recall news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

If you have the cheeses at home, follow careful sanitizing protocols.

If you have any of the affected cheeses at home, you should throw them away immediately or return them to their point of purchase for a full refund. However, that’s not the only precaution you should take to keep yourself safe. The FDA notes that “Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces,” which is why they recommend cleaning and sanitizing any dishes or surfaces in your home that may have come into contact with the affected cheese. And for more items to clear out of your kitchen ASAP, If You Have This Meat at Home, Throw It Away Now, USDA Says.