Los Angeles: A Rash of Deaths From Cheese

A Rash of Deaths From Cheese

Queso Fresco and Cotija are household words in many Hispanic homes, particularly in Los Angeles. The two south-of-the-border-style cheeses are made by the Jalisco Mexican Products Inc. plant in Artesia, Calif., whose major markets are in nine Western states. But 22 deaths or stillbirths in Los Angeles County have been linked to the soft white cheeses, which federal health officials say were contaminated with the deadly and fast-acting bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. In virtually all of the 94 confirmed cases, Hispanics have been the victims.

The bacterium causes a flulike disease that is most dangerous for people with low immunity, such as...

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