The Dangers of Eating Listeria Tainted Food

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The recent listeria related illnesses and death caused by eating tainted cheese products made by the Yakima cheese producer Queseria Bendita are tragic. One person has died and at least three have been made seriously ill from eating those products. Click here to read related story.

Health officials from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working to contain the listeria outbreak and track down the contaminated cheese. Officials are warning consumers who may have purchased these three Queseria Bendita brand cheeses: Queso Fresco, Panela, and Requeson and still have it in their refrigerators to throw the product away and not eat it.

The cheeses are tainted with the bacteria listeria monocytogenes, which is found in unpasteurized milk products such as the products listed above. Listeria produces a toxin that affects the elderly, the very young, those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women. Women who are pregnant may experience fever and nausea but the more serious effects are those on the unborn fetus.

Listeriosis may result in stillbirths and birth defects that may permanently impair the life and health of the child. Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Blood stream infections, encephalitis or meningitis may occur. If the infection is invasive, which means that it has entered the bloodstream, extensive hospitalization may be required to treat victims. Normally, cases of listeriosis are treated with anti-microbial medications such as penicillin, ampicillin, and those generations of antibiotics. Unfortunately, if untreated, listeriosis has a mortality rate of approximately 20 percent.

Although the current listeria outbreak stems from tainted cheese at the Yakima producer, Queseria Bendita, other sources of listeria come from consuming un-cook meats, hotdogs, unpasteurized milk products and “fresh cheeses” and some vegetables and fruits such as cantaloupe. Consumers should always insure that their food products, especially those such as meats and dairy products, are properly handled, cooked or pasteurized before eating.

Should health officials issue recall of food products and or notices to destroy them, consumers should promptly dispose of such foodstuffs. Grocery stores carrying such recalled products should promptly remove them from sale to the public. More importantly, if consumers experience any of the symptoms associated with listeriosis, as mentioned above, please seen medical attention promptly. This is especially true for pregnant women, the elderly, and very young.

Attorneys at Tamaki Law stand ready to assist anyone who has fallen ill as result of eating tainted food such as cheese from Queseria Bendita.