A New York Company is recalling a Queso Fresco or Fresh Cheese after the NY State Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services tested and found the product to have a high level of Staphylococcus aureus in the product. While Staph aureus may be naturally present on our skin and in our nasal passages, it is can be an issue when in high levels in food products. When S. aureus reaches high levels, it produces an enterotoxin that can cause serious vomiting.
How high is high? Generally we don't expect to see any, but may see low levels, 10 cfu or less per gram, and up to 100/gram may be acceptable on fresh cheese. So if one had to guess, the numbers here would probably be above this level.
FDA News Release
CONSUMER ALERT: STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS IN QUESO FRESCO CHEESE
Contact: Joe Morrissey 548-457-0752 Joe.Morrissey@agriculture.ny.gov
Dave Bullard 315-487-7711 x 1377 Dave.Bullard@agriculture.ny.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — April 20, 2015 — State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today warned consumers not to consume La Clarita Queseria Queso Fresco “Fresh Cheese” made by Queseria La Poblanita, Inc., 216 E. 117th St., New York, NY, 10035, due to possible Staphylococcus aureus contamination. To date, no illnesses are known by the Department of Agriculture and Markets to be associated with this product.
The recalled fresh Spanish-style cheese is sold in 12 oz. plastic tub packages with a label declaring a plant # 36/8585, and a product lot code of MAY 13, 2015. The manufacturer presented on the package is: “Queseria La Poblanita Inc. 216 E. 117th St., New York, NY 10035.” The product was distributed to stores and delis in the metropolitan New York area.
A routine sample of the cheese, collected by an inspector from the Department’s Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services on April 15, 2015, was subsequently tested by the New York State Food Laboratory and discovered to be contaminated with high levels of Staphylococcus aureus . The manufacturer was notified of the positive test result and voluntarily recalled the product.
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that usually causes rapid food poisoning symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, retching, abdominal cramping, and prostration. In more severe cases, headache, muscle cramping and transient changes in blood pressure and pulse may occur. Recovery generally takes two days. All people are susceptible. Death is very rare. However, such cases have occurred among the elderly, infants, and severely debilitated persons.
Consumers who have purchased the La Clarita Queseria Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese should return the product to the place of purchase or discard it.