Multistate E. Coli Outbreak Leads to Ready-to-Eat Salad, Sandwich Recall

Roughly 181,620 pounds of ready-to-eat salads and sandwich wraps are being recalled amid a multi-state outbreak of E coli food poisoning, which has left dozens of people ill after consuming the products.  

The multi-state E. Coli outbreak was announced by the FDA on November 10, after combined efforts from the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were able to link the illnesses through epidemiological testing to the potentially affected food products manufacturer. 

To date, at least 26 people have been infected with E coli 0157:H7 in Arizona, California, and Washington.

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The FSIS announced a Glass Onion Catering salad and sandwich recall on the same day, including ready-to-eat salads and sandwich wraps with fully-cooked chicken and ham produced by Glass Onion Catering of Richmond, California. The meat was distributed to Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

The FDA is also recalling ready to eat salads and wraps produced by Atherstone Foods Inc. of Richmond, California with “Best Buy” dates ranging from 9-23-13 through 11-14-13, due to the potential for the products to be contaminated with the same strand of E coli. Although the products have not been linked to the illnesses at this time, the FDA confirmed these products have the potential to be contaminated with the same strand of E coli involved in the multi-state outbreak.

The affected products were sold at various supermarkets and distributors such as Trader Joe’s and Super Fresh Foods and also under the Delish and Atherstone labels. The products were sold in a variety of sizes ranging from 9.2 ounces to 20 pound boxes. For a full list of both company’s recall products please visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm374327.htm

E. coli O157:H7 is one of the more common causes of food poisoning in the United States. When left untreated, it can lead to dehydration and potentially life-threatening illness.

Symptoms of E. coli poisoning typically involve stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea but only last a few weeks for healthy adults. However, young children and the elderly could be at risk for more severe illness, where the toxin may enter the blood stream. Between 5% and 10% of E. coli infections can lead to kidney failure, known as Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fatigue, decreased frequency of urination and loss of pink color in the cheeks and inside of their lower eyelids.

The FSIS encourages consumers to prevent further contamination by taking preemptive steps such as washing your hands thoroughly in warm/hot water with sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Consumers can also prevent the contamination from spreading to other foods that will not be cooked as thorough by storing them separately and using different cutting boards when preparing the foods.

The FSIS and FDA recommend that customers with affected products immediately stop consuming them and either discard the remainder or return the products to the place of purchase to receive a full refund. Customers with questions may contact Atherstone Foods at 510-236-8905.

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