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FDA shuts firm at centre of Listeria outbreak

By Joe Whitworth+

12-Mar-2014
Last updated on 13-Mar-2014 at 12:54 GMT

Roos Foods has recalled a variety of products
Roos Foods has recalled a variety of products

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suspended the registration of Roos Foods, which is at the centre of a Listeria outbreak linked to the death of one person, after an inspection uncovered unsanitary conditions.

FDA found the roof leaking so that water was raining down into the cheese processing room, including onto equipment and storage tanks and standing water on the floor in the cheese curd processing room in proximity to the cheese vats and in storage rooms.

The suspension was ordered after an investigation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local partners linked a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis to cheeses contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and manufactured by the company.

Residues after cleaning

FDA inspected the company’s facility from February 18 – March 4 and also found food residues found on equipment after cleaning and openings to milk storage tanks and transfer piping were not capped to prevent contaminants entering or compromising food contact surfaces.

The suspension order will be lifted when the FDA determines that food manufactured, processed, packed, or held no longer has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death.

Eight people sickened

The CDC reported eight people have been infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes from two states: California (1), Maryland (7).

Dates that illness was diagnosed range from August 1, to November 27, 2013 and seven of the eight ill persons were hospitalized.

Roos Food product recall

Five of the illnesses were related to a pregnancy; two of these were diagnosed in two mother–newborn pairs, and one in only the newborn.

Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of Listeria monocytogenes strains isolated from Roos Foods cheese products has been performed by the FDA and Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services.

They were found to be highly related to the Listeria strains isolated from patients, adding further confidence that cheese products produced by Roos Foods were a likely source.

Roos Foods has voluntarily recalled all lots, sizes and types of cheese under the Amigo, Anita, Mexicana, and Santa Rose de Lima brands.

The firm also recalled all product sizes and containers of Santa Rosa de Lima Crema Salvadorena Cultured Sour Cream, Santa Rosa de Lima Mantequilla de Bolsa Tradicion Centroamericana, Crema Pura Mexicana Cultured Sour Cream, La Chapina Crema Guatemalteca Guatemalan Style Cream, and Amigo Brand Crema Centroamericana Cultured Sour Cream.

Products were distributed through retail stores in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

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