updated 5/21/2004 1:14:18 PM ET 2004-05-21T17:14:18

A Maryland company is recalling some of its cheese products after salmonella, a germ that can cause food poisoning, was discovered in a shipment from Central America.

Rio Grande Food Products Inc. of Beltsville, Md., said Thursday that the cheese, sold from February to April, was distributed in 10 states and the District of Columbia and repackaged for sale to delis and retail stores nationwide.

The recalled cheese was sold in blocks of 40 to 85 pounds under the brand name Rio Grande and UPC code 738529070123. It was also repackaged in smaller consumer-size blocks under the following brands:

  • Rio Grande-Queso Duro Viejo/Hard Cheese, UPC 738529070128.
  • Queso Duro Viejo/Aged Hard Cheese, UPC 769087000678.
  • Emanuel Distributors, Product of El Salvador, which may lack a UPC code.

No reports of illness
The company said it has received no reports of illnesses caused by salmonella, which can be fatal in young children or sick or elderly people.

The Food and Drug Administration discovered the germ in a routine test of the product at a port of entry. Rio Grande manager Alonzo Revilla said the company has asked its suppliers in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua to investigate the cause.

The company said consumers can return the cheese to the place of purchase for a refund. More information is available by calling Rio Grande at 800-981-4991, weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT.

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