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Sargento issued a recall for certain cheese products sold in 15 states due to potential listeria contamination. Listeria is a type of bacteria that can cause a potentially deadly infection if consumed. The recall affects several grated and shredded cheese items but does not include Sargento-branded products. The affected products were sold to food service groups and not in grocery stores. The recall was initiated on February 5 as a precaution after the products were found to have come from a supplier, Rizo-Lopez Foods Inc.

The recall affects a wide range of cheese products, not only from Sargento but also from other brands like Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Costco. The broader Rizo-Lopez recall has resulted in 26 illnesses, including two deaths and 23 hospitalizations as of February 22, 2024. Sargento has a food service and ingredients division that operates business-to-business, selling products to other food manufacturers and restaurants. These products, which were most impacted by the recall, do not carry the Sargento brand. The most affected items were white cheddar cheese products, with 2,633 cases being recalled with best-by dates between March and June 2024.

Listeria monocytogenes, which is responsible for listeriosis, is a serious infection classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness poses serious risks, especially to older adults, pregnant women, babies, and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of listeriosis include flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, and upset stomach. Sargento has terminated its relationship with Rizo-Lopez Foods Inc. and notified its customers immediately after discovering the contamination issue. The recall began on February 5 and is still ongoing as the affected products are being removed from the market.

The FDA report previously listed 11 Sargento-branded cheeses as part of the recall, but Sargento clarified that the impacted cheeses do not carry the Sargento branding. The recall has affected consumers in 15 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. The recall includes thousands of cheeses, with the most heavily impacted being white cheddar cheese products with best-by dates between March and June 2024. For a full list of recalled cheese products, consumers can visit the FDA website for more information.

Listeria contamination poses a serious health risk for vulnerable populations, and Sargento’s recall of affected cheese products aims to prevent any further illnesses or fatalities. The products were identified as potentially contaminated with listeria from a specific supplier, prompting the company to act swiftly and recall the items from the market. While the recall does not include Sargento-branded products, the company is taking necessary steps to ensure consumer safety and remove all affected products from circulation. Consumers who have purchased the affected cheese products are advised to discontinue use and return them to the point of purchase for a refund.

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