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Warning on Potentially Contaminated Cheese

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On March 9, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers not to eat certain cheese products made and distributed by New York-based Peregrina Cheese Corporation.

The company is recalling certain products based on FDA sampling and analysis that detected Listeria monocytogenes in some of the samples. No illnesses are known to be associated with the products at this time.

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What is Listeria monocytogenes?

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that causes the bacterial infection Listeriosis. This illness can cause

  • serious and sometimes fatal infections in pregnant women, young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems
  • miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women
  • short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea in healthy people

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Which Peregrina products are affected by this warning?

  • Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese Mexican style soft cheese (two specific lots): Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese comes in 14-ounce foil wrapped packages marked with lot number 4469 or 4477 affixed to each package on a white sticker and bearing UPC number 8 17424 00024 6 and Plant # 36-8431.
  • Queso Cotija Molido Mexican style grated cheese: Queso Cotija Molido Cheese comes in 15-ounce clear plastic bags that are marked with UPC number 8 17424 00027 7 and Plant # 36-1388. The bags do not contain a lot number or production date.

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Where and when were these products sold?

These products were distributed in early February 2009 to retail stores in

  • the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Manhattan
  • the Pennsylvania towns of Scranton and Hazelton

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What should I do if I have bought or eaten these products?

  • Contact your health care professional if you have Listeriosis symptoms and you may have recently consumed these products.
  • Discard any recalled products immediately.

Although FDA detected Listeria monocytogenes in only one production date of Peregrina Cheese Corporation's Queso Cotija Molido Cheese, the agency urges you to discard all of these products because they don't contain a lot code or production day code to allow you to distinguish between a product that is of concern and a product that is not of concern.

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Who do I contact if I have questions about this recall?

Call the Peregrina Cheese Corporation at 718-456-2391, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST.

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This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

Date Posted: March 11, 2009

For more about food, medicine, cosmetic safety and other topics for your health, visit FDA.gov/ForConsumers.
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