Soynut Butter Recall Issued After E. Coli Outbreak Sickens Children

Federal health officials have announced a recall for SoyNut butter products, following at least a dozen 12 reports of consumers becoming infected with the same strain of E. coli O157:H7, including at least six serious cases of food poisoning that resulted in hospitalization. 

The SoyNut Butter recall was announced by the FDA on March 4, indicating that at least 11 children and one adult have been found to have the same strain of E. coli food poisoning after consuming the product. In addition, at least four of the cases have reportedly resulted in Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a serious and sometimes fatal food poisoning condition that can lead to kidney failure.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) announced an outbreak investigation, after receiving reports from hospitals of individuals becoming sick with similar strains of STEC O157:H7, a Shiga-toxin producing form of E. coli that can be fatal to those with weakened immune systems if left untreated.

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E. coli is a foodborne bacterium that lives in the intestines of people and animals and can become pathogenic causing severe bowel pain and diarrhea when exposed outside of the human intestinal tract. The bacteria are commonly transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals and infected persons.

Symptoms of E. Coli typically involve mild to severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps, bloody stools, and sometimes minor fevers lasting between five and 10 days.

Individuals such as young children or the sick and elderly may be affected more because of a weakened immune system, which could also increase the severity of the illness.

CDC investigators reached the families of nine of the sickened individuals, and all reported either eating I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter at home or at a childcare center within the week before becoming ill. Following the researchers epidemiologic and traceback investigations, the agency was able to determine the I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter products as a likely source of the contamination.

Following the CDC’s discoveries, the manufacturing company SoyNut Butter Company of Glenview, Illinois issued a recall of its I.M. Healthy Organic Creamy SoyNut Butter products that were packaged in 15-ounce plastic jars with Best By dates ranging from July 5, 2018 to August 31, 2018, individual portioned cups sold with Best By date August 8, 2018, and four-pound plastic tubs with Best By dates ranging from November 16, 2018 to July 25, 2018.

The recalled SoyNut Butter products were distributed for sale in multiple states to grocers, through mail order purchases, and were also distributed to childcare centers and schools.

Customers are being advised to not consume, and to stop using, any and all remaining recalled SoyNut Butter products. Consumers can return any remaining product to the place of purchase for a full refund. Customers with additional questions may contact 1-800-288-1012.

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