Sargento recalls nearly a dozen brands of shredded cheese over listeria fears

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A well-known cheese maker is recalling products sold across the country due to listeria concerns. 

The recall by Plymouth, Wisconsin-based Sargento Foods was initiated on February 5, 2024, and is ongoing, according to an event report posted online by the Food and Drug Administration. An official notice has not yet been posted on the FDA’s recall page. 

The development is the latest in a spurt of hard-to-swallow news for cheese eaters and related to listeria, the bacteria behind listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating contaminated food.

The recall includes Sargento-branded shredded cheese packaged in various sizes and best-by dates. That includes different versions of the following types of cheese: asiago, cotija, cheddar, Italian, Monterey Jack, parmesan, queso quesadilla, Swiss, taco, white cheddar and a nacho and taco blend.

The potentially tainted products were distributed in 15 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

Founded in 1953, the family-owned cheese maker operates five locations in Wisconsin, employing more than 2,500 people and tallying $1.8 billion in net annual sales. 

Sargento did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Sargento recall is unrelated to another sweeping nationwide action involving cheese and other products produced by a California dairy company.


Costco, Trader Joe’s and Walmart products made with cheese linked to deadly listeria outbreak

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That ongoing saga has the FDA currently investigating an outbreak of listeria infections tied to cheese made by Modesto, Calif.-based Rizo-López Foods. 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 in the ongoing listeria outbreak, with 23 hospitalized. The latest illness occurred in December, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One person died in California in 2017, and another fatality occurred in Texas in 2020, the CDC said in its latest update on Feb. 13, 2024. 

An estimated 1,600 Americans get listeriosis each year and about 260 die, according to the federal agency.

An listeria outbreak that killed two people nearly a decade ago on Tuesday had a former cheese maker in Walton, New York, pleading to misdemeanor charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Johannes Vulto and his now defunct company, Vulto Creamery, were found to be behind the sole multistate outbreak of listeria in 2017, federal officials said. 

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