Several recalls of cheese and dairy products produced by Oasis Brands, Inc. due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination have been announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
On August 4, 2014, Oasis Brands, Inc. voluntarily recalled quesito casero (fresh curd) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination after the pathogen was isolated from quesito casero produced by this firm.
On October 6, 2014, Oasis Brands, Inc. recalled cuajada en hoja (fresh curd) after FDA isolated Listeria monocytogenes from environmental samples collected from the production facility.
On October 16, 2014, Oasis Brands, Inc. recalled various cheese and dairy products sold under the Lacteos Santa Martha brand.
Whole-genome sequences of the Listeria monocytogenes strains isolated from recalled quesito casero cheese produced by Oasis Brands, Inc. were found to be highly related to sequences of Listeria strains isolated from one person who became ill in September 2013 and two persons who became ill in June and August 2014.
These three ill persons were reported from three states: New York (1), Tennessee (1), and Texas (1).
All ill persons were hospitalized. One death was reported in Tennessee. One illness was related to a pregnancy and was diagnosed in a newborn.
All ill persons were reported to be of Hispanic ethnicity and reported consuming Hispanic-style soft cheese. The two persons who were able to answer questions about specific varieties of Hispanic-style soft cheeses reported consuming quesito casero, though neither could remember the brand.
CDC recommends that consumers do not eat any of the recalled cheese and dairy products. Restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve them.
Although limited information is available about the specific cheese products consumed by ill persons, the whole genome sequencing findings, together with the cheese consumption history of the patients suggests that these illnesses could have been related to products from Oasis Brands, Inc.
This investigation is ongoing, and new information will be provided when available.