The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local officials over an investigation of a multi-state outbreak of E coli O157:H7 infections.
More than 90 tons of food produced by a California catering company are involved in the recall, according to The Associated Press (AP).
According to the FDA, the E coli O157:H7 illnesses are potentially tied to pre-packaged salad meals. To date, 26 illnesses have been reported in three states: Arizona, California, and Washington.
The recalled products were produced between September 23 and November 6, 2013 and were shipped to distribution centers intended for retail sale in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. The recalled items bear “P-34221” inside the USDA inspection mark, according to CNN.
The FSIS announced on November 10, 2013, that Glass Onion Catering of Richmond, California, is recalling about 181,620 pounds of ready-to-eat salads and sandwich wrap products that contain fully cooked chicken and ham. The products have been associated with the illnesses through epidemiological and traceback investigation.
In a related recall announcement, Atherstone Foods, Inc., also of Richmond, California recalled ready-to-eat salads and wraps that have “Best Buy” dates of 9-23-13 through 11-14-13 over their potential contamination with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.
The FDA is maintaining a full list of products being recalled on its website here.
The symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections vary, but typically include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea that may be bloody, and vomiting. Some people may suffer from low fever and most people feel better within five to seven days.
Some cases may be very severe, even life threatening. About 5-20 percent of people diagnosed with STEC infection develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS symptoms include decreased frequency of urination, fatigue, and loss of color in the cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. Persons with HUS require hospitalization as the kidneys may shut down and other serious problems may occur. Although most people diagnosed with HUS recover within a few weeks, some suffer permanent damage or die.
The time between ingestion of a food contaminated with the STEC bacteria and feeling ill is usually three to four days following exposure; however, the incubation period may be anywhere from one to 10 days. Symptoms typically begin slowly and worsen over time. Should HUS occur, the disorder will develop about seven days following initial