Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner

Food Safety Alert

October 31, 2013

Joe Morrissey, 518-457-0752,
Dave Bullard, 315-487-7711 x 1377,

Staphylococcus Aureus in Queso Fresco Cheese

New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets Acting Commissioner James B. Bays, today warned consumers not to consume Emperador Farm Queso Fresco “Fresh Cheese” made by Emperador Farm Inc. of East Chatham, NY  12060, due to possible Staphylococcus aureus contamination.

The recalled fresh Spanish-style cheese is sold in 1-pound plastic tub packages.  The manufacturer presented on the package is:  Emperador Farm Inc., 667 Frisbee St., East Chatham, NY   12060.   The package labels do not bear a lot code.  All production lots of product containing this label, are being recalled.    The product was distributed to stores in Westchester County.

A routine sample of the cheese, taken by an inspector from the Department’s Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services on October 28, 2013 was subsequently tested by the New York State Food Laboratory and discovered to be contaminated with high levels of Staphylococcus aureus.  On October 30, 2013, the manufacturer was notified of the positive test result and voluntarily recalled the product.   

Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that usually causes rapid food poisoning symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, retching, abdominal cramping and prostration.  In more severe cases, headache, muscle cramping and transient changes in blood pressure and pulse may occur.  Recovery generally takes two days.  All people are susceptible.  Death is very rare, however such cases have occurred among the elderly, infants and severely debilitated persons.

To date, no illnesses are known by the Department to be associated with this product.  Consumers who have purchased the Emperador Farm Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese should return the product to the place of purchase or discard it.


2013 Consumer Alerts