26 people in three states have reportedly been infected with the outbreak of a strain of E. coli. Investigations conducted by local, state, and federal official have traced it back to ready-to-eat salads and wraps made by Atherstone Foods, Inc. of Richmond, California, which sells the salads under the brand name Glass Onion Catering.
The USDA reported that the 26 known victims of the outbreak began feeling ill between late September and late October. 22 of the ill are from California, three are from Washington, and one is from Arizona.
The affected product names include: “Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken” and “Mexicali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken”. While the contamination is believed to be caused by the chicken, other product lines that were made at the same Richmond facility are also at risk of contamination. They are: “Delish Greek Style Orzo Salad”, “Delish Asian Style Noodle Salad”, “Delish Vegetarian Wrap”, “Classic Greek Salad” “Southwestern Salad Kit”, and “Wheat Berry Salad Kit”.
What’s Being Done
All of the above products have been recalled. Atherstone Foods, Inc., the producer of the salads and wraps, has voluntarily recalled those with “Best Buy” dates 9-23-13 through 11-14-13.
The products were sold at stores that included: Trader Joes, Walgreens, and Whole Foods. In total, Atherstone Foods recalled 181,620 pounds of product, which was distributed to Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. There is more information on recall the FDA website.
Consumers should check their refrigerators to see if they have any of the recalled salads or wraps and dispose of them accordingly.
How to Identify Infection
This strain of E. coli (0157:H7) is known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli or STEC. It causes a diarrheal illness with dehydration and cramps and can cause bloody stools.
In more serious cases, the infection can cause a type of kidney failure that is called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUD), which can lead to death. HUD is mostly likely to develop in young children and the elderly. In this outbreak, six people are known to have been hospitalized with two having developed HUD.
Most healthy adults can recover from more milder symptoms of STEC within a week. However, due to the significant health risk it poses, those affected should seek immediate medical attention.