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Colombian Style Cheese Recalled for Potential Staph Contamination

Same cheese recalled one week earlier for improper pasteurization

A New York-based company is recalling a Colombian-style cheese product because it may be contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The recall comes a week after the New York State Department of Agriculture (NYSDA) warned consumers not to eat this same cheese because it had not been properly pasteurized.

Tita Corp. of Glendale, NY issued a voluntary recall of its “Queso Colombiano, Colombian Style Cheese” Saturday after samples of the product were found to contain “high levels of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The samples that tested positive for Staph bacteria were taken by an NYSDA Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services inspector on July 25, 2012, just 8 days after the Division had found that milk used to make this cheese had been improperly pasteurized, meaning that it’s possible for pathogens to survive in the product.

Three days after the sample was taken, on July 28, the company received notice that it had tested positive for Staph and initiated a recall of the cheese product.

Products subject to the recall are sold in the New York Metropolitan area under the brand name “Tita” in 8 oz clear plastic pouches or tubs marked with plant code #36-8440 and the stamped code “AUG 10 2012” located beneath the bar code.

Symptoms of a Staphylococcus aureus infection appear almost immediately after exposure to the bacteria and include nausea, vomiting, retching, abdominal cramping and prostration. Recovery usually takes around 2 days, but illness can be more severe in the elderly, infants and people with weakened immune systems.

No illnesses have been associated with consumption of this cheese to date.

Consumers who have purchased Tito’s Quesito Columbiano Columbian Style Cheese are urged to return it to its place of purchase or discard it. Those with questions can call the company directly at 718-381-4393.

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