On Monday, New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball warned consumers not to eat La Clarita Queseria Queso Fresco “Fresh Cheese,” due to possible Staphylococcus aureus contamination.
The cheese is made by Queseria La Poblanita, Inc., 216 E. 117th St., New York, NY. The Department of Agriculture and Markets said that to date it knows of no illnesses are with this product.
The recalled cheese, a fresh Spanish-style cheese, is distributed to stores and delis in the metropolitan New York area. The cheese is sold in 12 oz. plastic tubs; the label lists plant # 36/8585, and a product lot code of MAY 13, 2015. The manufacturer shown on the package is “Queseria La Poblanita Inc. 216 E. 117th St., New York, NY 10035.” The problem was discovered when a routine sample of the cheese, collected by an inspector from the agriculture department’s Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services on April 15, 2015, and tested by the New York State Food Laboratory, was discovered to be contaminated with high levels of Staphylococcus aureus. When notified of the test result, the manufacturer voluntarily recalled the product.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in food usually causes rapid food poisoning symptoms, sometimes in as little as 30 minutes. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, retching, abdominal cramping, and prostration, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In severe cases, headache, muscle cramps, and blood pressure changes may also occur. Recovery generally takes about two days. All people are susceptible to this toxin. Death is rare but has occurred among the elderly, elderly, infants, and severely debilitated persons. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotics do not affect the toxin and are not used to treat it. The best treatment for this staphylococcal food poisoning is rest, plenty of fluids, and medicines to calm the stomach. Patients such as the young and the elderly, who have a more severe illness, may require intravenous therapy and care in a hospital.
The most common way for food to be contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus, the CDC explains, is through contact with food workers who carry the bacteria or through contaminated milk and cheeses. Staphylococcal toxins are resistant to heat and cannot be destroyed by cooking. Foods at highest risk of contamination with Staphylococcus aureus and subsequent toxin development are those that are made by hand and require no cooking, such as sliced meat, some pastries, and sandwiches. To prevent staphylococcal contamination, the CDC recommends thorough hand washing before handling or preparing food. Those with eye or nose infections should not prepare foods. Those with wounds or skin infections on the hands or wrists should not prepare or serve food to others.
Consumers who have purchased the affected La Clarita Queseria Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese should return the product to the place of purchase or discard it.
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