Series

Listeria Cheese-meh

Link in Bio with Jenny and Alejandro
Queso cotija and queso fresco are being recalled in the US for listeria contamination. Cheese expert Carlos Yescas beams in from the United Kingdom to explain how cheese is made, what can go wrong and other foods that can turn deadly.
the details
The following brands of fresh Mexican cheeses have been recalled: 365 Whole Foods, Campesino, Casa Cardenas, Don Francisco, Dos Ranchitos, El Huache, Food City, La Ordena, Rio Grande, Rizo Bros, San Carlos, Santa...
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Show transcript
00:00
Sister. I have some cheese man for you.
00:02
Oh, you know,
00:03
I look of the cheese man.
00:06
All right. Wasn't that a drill?
00:07
People are dying around the country because of a stereo tainted cheeses
00:11
If you ask me,
00:12
this is no gua beautiful.
00:17
I I had to Google it too.
00:19
The serious symptoms include nausea,
00:22
vomiting toro it can also affect pregnant women and their unborn
00:26
babies. So again,
00:27
this is not nothing to joke about and if it's not treated
00:30
in time, it can even cause death.
00:33
Damn brother. No.
00:39
So if you have cheese from these brands,
00:44
throw it away, their products are not safe to eat at
00:48
this time. But yeah,
00:50
it's crazy because this hasn't ha this is not something like completely
00:53
brand new. It's happened in the in the past,
00:55
it happened in the eighties.
00:56
Yeah. And specifically Jalisco Mexican products was being the one blamed
01:00
for this and they were,
01:01
you know, oh,
01:01
it's the Mexican cheese.
01:03
It's the Mexicans. However,
01:05
that was not the case.
01:06
It was the American distributors responsible for the outbreak.
01:10
See, and so these American distributors include brands such as Knutsen
01:14
Marigold and Jersey made just to name a few.
01:16
Damn. I have knut and sour cream.
01:19
It's like the one,
01:20
right. Yeah. No wonder I felt kind of queasy.
01:24
No. Give me your and you fed to believe that we
01:28
have a pro to talk to you about these cheeses.
01:30
we have Carlo Yescas cheese industry,
01:33
trail blazer and advocate for responsible business practices and food politics.
01:37
The queso king, if you will king Queso,
01:39
I like to call him.
01:40
That's ok. Let's bring him in.
01:46
What's up? Hey guys,
01:48
thank you so much for that introduction.
01:51
Do people call you Kino or is it just me?
01:53
I have never been called that.
01:56
Very happy to be there.
01:58
There you go. You're welcome.
01:59
But thank you for taking the time.
02:01
How did you become a cheese expert?
02:03
It's a kind of a long story.
02:05
I'm originally from Mexico.
02:06
My dad used to work for the government and one of the
02:10
jobs he had was he worked for an organ or for a
02:15
government branch called Reforma Graia.
02:17
And he will travel to around Mexico and basically give the titles
02:23
of the lands of the people that actually live in the lands
02:26
As you can imagine,
02:27
he will arrive in these places in his towns and people will
02:31
be very grateful that he was doing this,
02:33
not himself, but you know,
02:35
the government and they will give him things from their production.
02:38
And so sometimes he will come back with,
02:41
you know, 10 pineapples or a crate of tomatoes.
02:43
And in one of these two trips,
02:46
he went to Chihuahua and came back with a 15 wheel of
02:50
queso chihuahua and, you know,
02:53
gave it to me and my sister and we were like,
02:56
this is weird.,
02:58
you know, like it turns out that,
03:00
you know, behind the cheese,
03:01
there's a cow and a cheese makers and there's a whole story
03:04
and so can cheese has been,
03:07
in our lives for a long time until one day.
03:09
I said, you know,
03:10
I really like cheese,
03:12
maybe let's try to start selling it.
03:14
So me and my sister started a business in Mexico,
03:17
everything just to come from there.
03:19
I'm a cheese judge at the word Cheese Awards.
03:22
And yeah, it's a cheesy life,
03:25
cheesy life. You're getting in there with the puns,
03:30
those jokes that all sounds good to me.
03:34
So, Carlos, how is,
03:35
how is Queso Fresco made?
03:38
All cheese is kind of start the same way,
03:41
right? Like you have the milk,
03:42
you put it in a bag or a bucket.
03:45
and you put rennet in it.
03:48
So renne can come from either the stomach of an animal.
03:51
So that's animal RT as a traditional rennet or it could also
03:55
now come from bacteria that is used to create an
04:00
enzymatic process so that the milk coagulates and becomes a gel.
04:06
and then you cut that curd which is kind of
04:11
a gel like a gelatin and spills some of the water so
04:14
that water is away.
04:16
And that's where lactose is.
04:18
And so this is sort of the basics of all cheeses.
04:22
And then queso fresco,
04:23
for example, once you have cut the curd,
04:26
you mill that curd,
04:27
you, you sort of break it up and you know,
04:30
and then you put it in this little rounds and that
04:33
is, that is not your average process.
04:37
That's all I'm gonna say.
04:38
It sounds like that's the whole process.
04:41
And actually, you said you mentioned this bacteria and again
04:44
depending, there's like different factors to all of this.
04:47
Is there any dangers in cheese making?
04:49
Like how can we prevent contamination,
04:50
getting sick from these products?
04:52
You know, we need bacteria for a lot of things,
04:54
right? Like we have more bacteria in our bodies than cells
04:58
that, you know,
04:58
sort of like the human cells.
05:01
We are basically bacteria working around what we have
05:07
created. Importantly is that with the modern food systems that we
05:11
have some bacteria that are pathogenic to humans that make us
05:16
sick thrive in certain conditions.
05:21
And those certain conditions normally are very cold and very wet environments
05:26
So it's not so much that cheese is risky to make
05:31
It's just that the conditions in which we keep now cheese
05:34
to, you know,
05:36
center around the country and make sure that it's refrigerated all the
05:40
way kind of creates the perfect conditions that in the case that
05:45
there were bacteria to start with doses are multiplying and then
05:50
you know, you go and eat them and get really
05:52
sick. And the problem with listeria is that it kills you
05:55
and people who are immunocompromised or,
05:59
you know, young Children or old,
06:01
older people, people who are pregnant will be at
06:06
a risk of that infection taking over and you know,
06:10
killing them. What I think is interesting is that we always
06:14
hear when it's cheese,
06:14
but we never hear when it's lettuce.
06:17
And it actually there's more listeria from sort of salads that
06:21
we buy in the bags.
06:22
There is way more out of the year from there banning cheese
06:26
But when it's cheese is like,
06:27
we feel like, oh my God,
06:28
the primordial food that I love,
06:30
how is my cheese killing me?
06:31
We never think of that.
06:33
That is so true.
06:35
Well, thank you so much Carlos.
06:36
We really, really appreciate you coming on and sharing your expertise
06:39
with us and Tambien,
06:41
where can people find you?
06:43
They can find you online?
06:44
Just my name, Carlos just because you'll find me on Instagram
06:47
I put together tours for people to come visit cheese producers
06:52
in Europe and so they can come and you travel with me
06:54
learn a lot about cheese and we also sell cheese in
06:58
Mexico and you can find us as Lacy.
07:01
Thank you, Carlos.
07:03
Thank you. So much for your time.
07:04
Thank you so much.
07:07
D but you know what?
07:09
Also it got my attention,
07:10
how he called out lettuce.
07:11
He's like, oh,
07:11
don't, don't point the fingers at that.
07:13
There's me too. Oh my God man session.
07:18
That was, it was,
07:19
it was, it was good.
07:23
But wait, it was Gouda.
07:25
Oh, there you go.