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FDA Investigates presence of Listeria in some Hispanic-style Cheeses

The FDA suspended the food facility registration of Roos Foods Inc. of Kenton Delaware on March 11, 2014 after the FDA determined there was a reasonable probability of food manufactured, processed, packed, or held by Roos Foods causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans.

The FDA ordered the suspension after an investigation by the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local partners linked a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis to cheeses found to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and manufactured by the company. Food facility registration is required for any facility engaged in manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding food for consumption in the United States, and if the registration of a facility is suspended, no person shall introduce food from such facility into interstate or intrastate commerce in the United States. The FDA inspected the company's facility from February 18 – March 4, 2014. During the inspection, FDA investigators found insanitary conditions including:

  • the roof leaking so badly that water was raining down into the cheese processing room, including onto the cheese processing equipment and storage tanks;
  • standing water on the floor throughout the cheese curd processing room in proximity to the cheese vats and in the storage rooms;
  • metal roof/ceiling and metal supports exhibiting a rusted appearance with metal flaking precluding effective cleaning and sanitizing;
  • food residues found on equipment after cleaning had been performed; openings to milk storage tanks and transfer piping were not capped to prevent contaminants from entering or contaminating food contact surfaces; and
  • floors, wall, and equipment that were deteriorated and in bad repair, including processing equipment and storage vats with rust holes and floors with rough concrete deterioration.

The FDA will vacate the suspension order and reinstate Roos Foods' facility registration when the FDA determines that food manufactured, processed, packed, or held at the facility no longer has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans.

What are the Symptoms of Listeriosis?

Listeriosis is a rare and serious illness caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes. Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea. Persons in a higher-risk category, including pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, and the elderly, who experience fever after eating any of the Roos Foods cheeses listed above should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the potentially contaminated cheese.

Who is at Risk for Listeriosis?

Listeriosis can be fatal, especially in certain high-risk groups. These groups include the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems and certain chronic medical conditions (such as cancer). In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and serious illness or death in newborn babies, though the mother herself rarely becomes seriously ill.

SOURCE: Listeria (Listeriosis). FDA Investigates presence of Listeria in some Hispanic-style Cheeses.

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