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Food poisoning in New England – NYC Listeria Outbreak Illustrates Dangers

A recall of fresh cheese in the New York City metropolitan area stems from concerns that it may be tainted with Listeria.

Our Massachusetts food poisoning lawyers understand that the announcement came recently from New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine, who said that while no illnesses have been reported, listeria is a dangerous organism. Failure to recognize and treat it can result in personal injury or even wrongful death.

It stems from a routine inspection from the Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services back in late June at the Woodhaven wholesaler, Mexicali Cheese Corp. on 87th Street. The manufacturer was notified that the test results preliminarily came back positive. The manufacturer in turn voluntarily recalled the cheese.

The cheese is packaged in a hard, plastic tub with the plant number 36-0128 and a code of 071512. All packages with these codes are affected, and they would have the following product names: Acatlan Queso Fresco, Fresh Cheese, Mexicali Queso Fresco Mexicano and Mexican Style Fresh Cheese.

While there haven’t been any reports of illness, Listeria can be fatal. Formally, it’s known as Listeria monocytogenes. It’s a bacteria that occurs in contaminated food.

As with almost any food borne illness, those primarily affected are pregnant women, newborns, older adults and adults who have weakened immune systems.

For example, a newborn can become sickened with Listeria poisoning, known as listeriosis, if his or her mother consumed it while pregnant. If you’re healthy, you may be able to eat a food contaminated with Listeria and never even know it or display any symptoms of illness.

It’s these risk groups, however, who must be especially cautious.

If you’re pregnant, you might experience some flu-like symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But these infections can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth or a life-threatening infection of your baby.

Those who aren’t pregnant are generally going to experience fever and muscle aches. If it’s serious, it will involve headaches, stiffness in your neck, confusion, dizziness and convulsions.

According to the CDC, certain foods are particularly prone to Listeria contamination – most of them raw. These include processed meat (think deli meat or hot dogs), soft cheeses and smoked seafood. Unpasteurized milk and cheese are among the most likely foods to contain the bacteria.

Listeria is usually killed in the cooking process, but if you should know that when you consume certain ready-to-eat foods, your chances of getting spike because contamination can happen between the food being cooked in the factor and being processed. Plus, unlike a lot of other bacteria, Listeria can thrive in your refrigerator.

For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman 1-888-367-2900.