California inspectors have found Salmonella contamination in quesillo cheese imported from an unspecified country, prompting a company to recall two varieties of soft cheese.

The importer is referred to as “Alebrije Dist Wholesale” in a recall notice posted for the company by the Food and Drug Administration. Unlike most recalls, the location of the company’s place of business is not included.

“The recall was as the result of a routine sampling inspection by the CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture) which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria,” according to the recall notice. “The company has ceased the distribution of the product as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.”

Consumers can identify the cheese by looking for the following label information provided by “Alebrije Dist Wholesale.”

  • Quesillo “Queseria La Milagrosa” wrapped in plastic bags with yellow labels and sold ½ kg and 1kg packages; and
  • “Alebrije Cheese” wrapped in plastic bags with orange and blue labels and sold in ½ kg, 1kg and 5kg packages.

“Alebrije Dist Wholesale” reports distributing the recalled cheese “through retail sale and direct delivery” in the Los Angeles area. The company distributed the cheese on Oct. 24 and 24. No illnesses had been confirmed in relation to the recalled cheese as of the posting of the recall notice.

Consumers who have purchased Quesillo “Queseria La Milagrosa” and “Alebrije Cheese” are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund, according to the recall notice. Consumers with questions can call 619-646-5361.

Advice for the public
Food that is contaminated with Salmonella bacteria usually does not look, smell or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized. 

Older adults, children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.

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