Date: February 09 2024

Contact: Jon Ebelt, Communications Director, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936, (406) 461-3757

DPHHS Urges Consumers to Dispose of Recalled Dairy Products

FDA conducting Listeria monocytogenes outbreak investigation

Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) officials announced today that Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. has issued a nationwide voluntary recall of multiple dairy products due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The recalled products were sold at Costco, Albertsons, Safeway, and Whole Foods stores in Montana. A complete list of recalled products can be found here: Outbreak Investigation of Listeria monocytogenes: Queso Fresco and Cotija Cheese (February 2024) | FDA

“Our message to Montanans is to take time to check if these products are in their possession, and if so, discard them,” said Dr. Maggie Cook-Shimanek, Public Health Physician at DPHHS.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and fatigue, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women and serious illness or death in newborns. A consumer with symptoms of listeriosis should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care.

Twenty-six illnesses have been linked to the recalls nationwide, including 23 hospitalizations and two deaths. There are no confirmed illnesses or deaths in Montana linked to these recalls.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been notified of additional recalls for products made with or containing recalled dairy products from Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc.

Recalled food items confirmed to have been sold in Montana stores are summarized below:

Simply Fresh Rojo’s Black Bean 6- and 7-Layer Dip 2-20 oz Club were sold at Costco stores in Montana. Simply Fresh Llc. Voluntarily Recalls Rojos Black Bean Layer Dip 2/20oz Product Because of Possible Health Risk | FDA

Fresh Creative Foods cremas, everything sauces, cilantro cotija dressing, poblano Caeser dressing, cilantro dressing, and one taco kit were sold at Costco, Albertsons, and Safeway stores in Montana. Fresh Creative Foods Announces Voluntary Recall of Dressings and Taco Kit Due to Risk of Listeria in Ingredient From Cheese Supplier: Rizo-Lopez Foods, Inc. | FDA

365 Whole Foods Market ricotta whole milk cheese and ricotta part skim milk cheese were sold at Whole Foods stores in 15 oz. packages. All dates through 04/2/2024 have been recalled.

A sample of Rizo Bros Aged Cotija tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes during sampling conducted by the Hawaii State Department of Health’s Food and Drug Branch in January 2024. In response to that finding, Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. voluntarily recalled one batch of Rizo Bros Aged Cotija Mexican Grating Cheese (8oz) on January 11, 2024.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and FDA reopened the investigation in January 2024 after new illnesses were reported in December 2023. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis of the cotija cheese sample showed that it is the same strain of Listeria that is causing illnesses in this outbreak.

Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. issued an expanded voluntary recall on February 5 in response to the investigation.

The FDA urges consumers not to eat, sell, or serve recalled brands of cheeses, sour creams (cremas), or yogurts manufactured by Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. or products made with recalled dairy products.

Consumers should check their refrigerators and freezers for any recalled products and throw them away. Consumers who purchased these products may take them back to the store for a refund or discard them.

Consumers, restaurants, and retailers who purchased or received recalled products, including wholesale products, should carefully clean and sanitize any surfaces or containers that it touched.   Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.  Follow  FDA’s safe handling and cleaning advice to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.