The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it intends to close down a New Jersey cheese maker in the wake of Listeria monocytogenes contamination and an alleged failure to correct unsanitary conditions at the plant.
Quesos Mi Pueblito manufactures and distributes soft, semi-soft and hard Mexican cheeses to grocery stores and supermarkets in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The FDA filed a complaint in the US District Court in Newark on Monday alleging that Quesos Mi Pueblito has failed to correct unsanitary conditions that were flagged up during inspections and that investigators found listeria contamination at the plant during inspections in August, September, October and November. The FDA’s complaint follows a three-year attempt by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services to help the company rid its facility of listeria monocytogenes bacteria.
Quesos Mi Pueblito issued a recall of 13 of its cheeses in August after health officials found listeria contamination during sample testing but the company has allegedly continued to produce listeria-tainted cheese.
The FDA has requested that the company and two of its officers, Felix Sanchez and Jesus Galvez, are prevented from manufacturing and distributing food until their Passaic, New Jersey facility complies with FDA food safety regulations and they “produce cheese that does not test positive for the presence of Listeria.”
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, which has been recognized as a serious public health problem in the United States and elsewere, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its figures show that around 2,500 people become seriously ill with listeriosis each year and 500 die.