Costco’s rotisserie chicken salad has been linked to at least 19 cases of E. coli infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced. The outbreak has affected the following seven states: Montana, Utah, Colorado, California, Missouri, Virginia and Washington. The CDC says the pathogen implicated in the outbreak is E. coli O157:H7. No deaths have been reported so far, but five people have been hospitalized and two have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure that can result in permanent organ damage, according to Reuters.
The contaminated ingredient has not yet been identified, the CDC says. In 14 of 16 cases, the chicken salad was bought or eaten a week before getting sick. Federal regulators notified Costco of the E. coli cases on November 20, and the company stopped selling them that same day, said Craig Wilson, vice president of food safety at Costco.
E. coli O157:H7 is the same strain involved in Jack in the Box’s 1993 food poison outbreak. Four children died after eating undercooked hamburgers and over 700 people became ill.
Last year, Costco’s chicken products were linked to a salmonella outbreak in at least nine states. Foster Poultry Farms, based in California, supplied the chicken to Costco.
Another recent E. coli outbreak involves Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. Health officials say more than 40 people in six states have become ill due to E. coli O26 food poisoning; no deaths or HUS have been reported so far.