Queso fresco recalled after pregnant woman tests positive for Listeria

A product near and dear to many of our Latina hearts has been recalled: queso fresco.

El Ranchero has recalled their queso fresco (fresh cheese) and hoja de platano (cheese in a banana leaf) products because of a concern that they may be contaminated with Listeria, a bacteria particularly dangerous to pregnant women that has been known to be fatal for young children and senior citizens.  

The worst part of the news, though, is that we Latinas have an even bigger cause to stay away: the FDA is warning that our larger consumption of homemade soft cheese from unpasteurized milk (like queso fresco) has led to a higher incidence of listeriosis in pregnant Hispanic women.

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The recall of queso fresco comes after a 38 weeks pregnant woman was diagnosed with Listeria monocytogenes in New Brunswick, New Jersey. El Ranchero Del Sur decided to voluntarily recall their product after the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services tested one of their products and determined that it was contaminated with Listeria.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is continuing their investigation into the contamination and warning pregnant Latinas about soft cheese. Because we have a tendency to have queso fresco (and other similar cheeses), the FDA says that our higher consumption "has led to miscarriages, death of newborns and premature delivery caused by listeria."

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The other problem with Listeria is that pregnant women can pass it to their unborn babies without realizing it, since the moms may not experience any symptoms of contamination. With this newest recall and warnings to pregnant women, I'm definitely putting queso fresco on the top of my foods-to-be-careful-of list. The recall is a big warning as to why we need to be more vigilant of certain foods. And since Listeriosis has a mortality rate of about 20%, I'm definitely planning to keep a watch on my queso fresco consumption.

Do you plan to stay away from queso fresco after this recall or will you just make it a point to consume less?

Image via chispita_666/flickr