Sargento Recalls Cheese Due to Listeria Outbreak

Sargento has terminated its contract with its supplier.

March 08, 2024

Wisconsin's Sargento Foods has recalled shredded cheese distributed by a California dairy company, Rizo-López Foods, due to a deadly listeria outbreak, reported CBS News.

The recall involved a "limited amount of our foodservice and ingredients products" and affected certain foodservice and business customers that had received the cheese as an ingredient. It did not involve cheese sold to consumers, a spokesperson for Sargento told CBS News.

"This news stemmed from California-based Rizo-Lopez Foods Inc.'s recall last month of its Cotija cheese due to a related listeria outbreak," the company said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. "As soon as we became aware of the issue, we further investigated and determined that this recall impacted a limited amount of the foodservice and ingredients products. On February 5, out of an abundance of caution, Sargento voluntarily recalled the products that were supplied by Rizo-Lopez Foods Inc. and products that were packaged on the same lines. This recall did not impact Sargento-branded products.

Sargento terminated its contract with Rizo-López and notified its impacted customers, the spokesperson added.

The company's recall of already recalled cheese is part of an ongoing saga that has the FDA investigating an outbreak of listeria infections tied to cheese made by Modesto, Calif.-based Rizo-López. The probe has resulted in a greatly expanded recall of cheese and other dairy products to include items like vending machine sandwiches, ready-to-eat enchiladas, snacks, dips, dressings, wraps, salad and taco kits.

At least 26 people in 11 states have been stricken by the ongoing listeria outbreak, with 23 hospitalized. The latest illness occurred in December, according to the CDC. One person died in California in 2017, and another fatality occurred in Texas in 2020, the CDC said in its latest update on February 13.

On February 6, the FDA first announced a recall of dairy products linked to Rizo-Lopez Food Inc. that were sold at retail locations due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

On February 13, the FDA updated its recall after it was notified of additional companies who have issued public notifications or recalls for products linked to the original Rizo-Lopez Food Inc. dairy recall. Most recently, MG Foods recalled S&S Ham & Cotija Torta Sandwich on Telera Roll, which is sold in vending machines and grab-and-go retail markets in Florida.

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