Don’t eat Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese Mexican style soft cheese and Queso Cotija Molido Mexican style grated cheese manufactured and distributed by Peregrina Cheese Corp. It might be full of Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause severe headaches, nausea, diarrhea, or miscarriages.

UPDATE: An astute tipster spotted this related item from the Onion.


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  1. Jabberkaty says:

    I remember when I looked at food labels for completely different reasons. Miscarriages certainly didn’t make the list.

    • NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @Jabberkaty: I depend on famous people to give me warnings in plain and simple terms.

      • Jabberkaty says:

        @NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave: I wish more warnings were about not consuming horse pee. It makes my workplace a happier place.

      • PoliticalScapegoat says:

        @NoO & A_GitEmSteveDave: I don’t understand why PETA would be in an uproar about this. Do they extract pee by causing the horse pain and anguish? Perhaps a bucket of warm water is in order here.

        • floraposte says:

          @PoliticalScapegoat: The horses are confined to some degree (reports differ as to the humanness of the conditions) and must be kept pregnant in order to produce the hormone, thus producing foals that there isn’t necessarily much of a market for beyond meat.

          But I don’t think we’re supposed to be taking PMU anymore anyway, are we?

    • tjjex says:


      where is this information coming from?

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @tjjex: On the food label? You need to know if the cheese is pasteurized or not if you’re pregnant. There’s a list of allowed and forbidden cheeses, but the easiest thing is to only eat pasteurized cheeses.

      • Jabberkaty says:

        @tjjex: Checking labels against those that are listed for FDA recalls. Though, if labels did say “This cheese will make your limbs fall off and hair turn green” it would be helpful.

        Then I wouldn’t have to spend so much money on St. Patrick’s day.

  2. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I just read the linked FDA page… at the bottom it looks like a twitter address.

    Twitter? US government agency? How progressive of them.

  3. dohtem says:

    Pics of the packaging would help a lot more than the full product name. My quick Google search came up empty tho :(

  4. scottpee says:

    Queso Fresco nachos may soon replace the morning after pill.

  5. littlemisslondon says:

    Now I’m glad I listened to the “no soft Mexican-style cheeses” thing with this pregnancy. How scary.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @littlemisslondon: I know, we had an outbreak in Chicago about a month ago, and I felt sick and scared when I saw it. And soooooooo relieved I’d been diligent about the soft and unpasteurized cheeses.

      (I miss bleu cheese. My husband has orders that the day after delivery, I want a big honkin’ rare black-and-bleu burger and a glass of red wine big enough to make my face warm.)

  6. heart.shaped.rock says:

    There’s an outbreak here in WA state where one area reported 20 miscarriages in s short amount of time. I personally know someone who lost a full-term baby because of lysteria. She, and her doctors, had no idea there was a problem until she went to a check-up in her 38th week and they couldn’t find a heartbeat.

    The lysteria causes this by infecting the placenta and restricting nutrients to the baby. So the placenta reacts by sending whatever nutrients are there to the brain, which swells, and kills the child. Since lysteria is pretty much harmless to healthy adults, the mom’s have no clue anything is wrong until the baby dies.

  7. ThickSkinned says:

    This could save millions of young girls a trip to Planned Parenthood. Who ever thought cheese would become a morning after pill?

  8. Blueskylaw says:

    Is this the generic, south of the border version of RU-486?

  9. HogwartsAlum says:

    Jeez that’s scary. I’m emailing this to my boss. She’s pregnant right now.

  10. ecwis says:

    The Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese comes in a 14-ounce foil wrapped packages

    So it seems that the kind that is sold at Walmart is safe, since it comes in an all-plastic wrapping.

    • floraposte says:

      @ecwis: Not sure if this is meant to be a joke or not–packaging has nothing to do with it, though. Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, whether they’re from Mexico, the farm down the road, or France, have a heightened listeria risk, and they should be avoided by pregnant women. (The advice previously was that the pregnant simply avoid all soft cheeses, but now the CDC is saying that if they’re clearly labeled “pasteurized” they should be okay.)

      Eyebrows, what did they tell you in this area?

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @floraposte: This and raw/rare meats were the two my ob/gyn and midwife were really, really serious about. They said most everything else I could have in moderation, including a glass of wine now and then, and/or use my common sense, but that soft cheeses and raw/rare meats they were REALLY NOT KIDDING about.

        I was told if it was pasteurized, it was safe, but that I probably should avoid even pasteurized versions of “moldy” cheeses like bleu and gorgonzola. And that at parties, etc., I should avoid cheese appetizers (like brie wheels) because I have no way of knowing.

        On the soft cheese front, I’ve had pasteurized feta I got at the grocery store. Otherwise, I’ve actually avoided most Mexican restaurants because the authentic ones use real cheeses (and we don’t really have chains here) and I’ve ordered in other restaurants with that in mind — and either pulled nutritional information online or asked the chef if there’s a cheese I’m not sure of. People have been very accommodating. My husband knows to read the labels very carefully when shopping, and I’ve got a mental list of approved chain restaurants whose ingredient lists I’ve checked online when we travel.

        We had an outbreak in Chicago about a month ago (I’m downstate) that resulted in two miscarriages and one premature delivery, which scared the bejeezus out of me and made me glad I’d been so diligent. I do miss good cheese, though.

      • ecwis says:

        @floraposte: Well they have a heightened risk, but this CDC article said that the cheese in question actually was contaminated with Listeria, not that it just had a risk of contamination.

        I’m fine with the risk as long as it’s good cheese. I’m not really a fan of Queso Blanco but I love Asadero (Queso Quesadilla). Do you know if that is made from unpasteurized milk?

  11. sebadoh128 says:

    Good ole’ Queso Fresco!

    Or, As we call it here in Southern California, “Bathtub cheese.”

  12. edwardso says:

    @sebadoh128: There was a “bathtub cheese” crack down in Denver a couple years ago. The news stories were great, lots of interviews in bathrooms

    • floraposte says:

      @edwardso: That sounds like a euphemism for what you find in a really dirty bathtub. Were there really enough people making cheese in their tubs to justify a crackdown?

      • sebadoh128 says:


        Not familiar with the Colorado incident, but it is a problem here in Southern California.

        Especially since it is responsible for some strains of Bovine TB.

        Last time I heard, we had an outbreak of Bovine TB in June of last year in San Diego County, and from what I understand, almost 400 lbs of “cheese” was confiscated in San Bernardino County last year as well.

        People, leave cheese making to the professionals, and the Amish!

  13. bohemian says:

    I remember a crack down on bathtub cheese when I lived in Northern CA. I had no idea people were making cheese in their bathtubs before that.

  14. Truthie says:

    I guess you could say this queso was not so fresco after all.

  15. edwardso says:

    @floraposte: It was during a period of heavy crackdown on Mexican immigrants and the conspiracy theorist in me suspects the two things were linked

    Eyebrows: your comments make me want to delay pregnancy indefinitely considering that rare meat, soft cheese, wine and sushi are my favorite foods

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @edwardso: The food restrictions make me sad, but 2nd and 3rd trimester are like unlimited calorie binges where everyone around you constantly urges you to eat more and approves of your horrific food choices because it’s good for the baby.

      It’s the only time in your life you can eat a burrito as big as your head while everyone around you wholeheartedly approves. :)

  16. kepler11 says:

    there might have been a clue to how makeshift this company’s operations were:

    “…Although the FDA detected Listeria monocytogenesin only one production date of Peregrina Cheese Corporation’s Queso Cotija Molido Cheese, the agency is urging consumers to discard all of these products because they do not contain a lot code or production day code to allow consumers to distinguish between a product that is of concern and a product that is not of concern….”

  17. ironchef says:

    cheese is the new peanut butter.

  18. eightfifteen says:

    Is there such a thing as a non-severe miscarriage?

  19. Jfielder says:

    So I guess we could maybe market this a “Plan C” emergency contraceptive?

  20. Andi Lee says:


    Has there ever been a food recalled because of that effect? All the other cautions seemed okay until it got to the miscarriage part.

  21. JeannieGrrl says:

    In Canada it kills folks and shuts down major meat plants.

  22. drgstrcowgirl says:

    NEW YORK (AP) 3/10/09 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat two cheeses made by a New York City company due to possible bacterial contamination.

    Peregrina Cheese Corp. has recalled its “Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese” Mexican-style soft cheese and “Queso Cotija Molido” Mexican-style grated cheese.

    The soft cheese is in a 14-ounce foil wrapped package marked with lot number 4469 or 4477.

    The grated cheese is in 15-ounce clear plastic bags that are marked with plant number 36-1388.

    The agency says samples of the cheeses were tested and found to be contaminated with Listeria bacteria, which can cause illnesses.

    The cheeses were distributed in New York City and to stores in Scranton and Hazelton, Pennsylvania, in early February. No illnesses have been reported.

  23. dangerp says:

    @dohtem: Here’s a pic of (I think) the package labeling from a recall a month ago. I would stay away from that logo entirely, based on Steeb2er’s comments.

  24. dangerp says:

    @dangerp: Oops, here’s the link:

  25. ajlei says:

    This reminds me of that 30 Rock episode where Liz can’t eat those cheese things because of something in them. Were they the same product?