Pulling Some Strings

Surtex Foods of Los Angeles recalling string cheese due to possible contamination

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

Surtex Foods is recalling their Oaxaca string cheese due to two possible bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus, that can lead to fatal gastrointestinal infections.

SURTEX FOODS CO. of Los Angeles is recalling Oaxaca string Cheese La Original in their 17.63 oz/ 500 gr presentation because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Staphylococcus aureus the bacterium responsible for producing toxins in foods, can cause gastrointestinal illness that usually begins 1-6 hours after eating contaminated food. The most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. In more severe cases, headache, muscle cramping, and temporary changes in blood pressure and pulse rate may occur. The illness is usually mild and most patients recover after one to three days. In a small minority of patients the illness may be more severe. In these cases, some people, especially the very young and old, may require medical treatment for dehydration from vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Oaxaca String Cheese “La Original” ( 17.63 /500 gr presentation) was distributed in California through retail stores and distributors.

The recalled product comes in a 17.63 ounce (500 gr), clear plastic package marked- Oaxaca String Cheese, “La Original de Oaxaca” with a UPC code of 8 90512 00104 2, Lot # 1360912 with expiration date 01/09/2011

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by the FDA which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria. The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem. NO OTHER PRODUCTS OR BATCHES FROM THIS COMPANY AND/OR PRODUCT THAT HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED WERE AFFECTED BY THIS RECALL.

Consumers who have purchased “Oaxaca String Cheese “La Original” ( 17.63 /500 gr presentation), UPC code of 8 90512 00104 2, Lot # 1360912 with expiration date 01/09/2011, are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at (323) 357-5900 Monday through Friday, 8am through 3pm PST.