E. Coli Scare

A California-based prepackaged food supplier has voluntarily recalled more than 90 tons of prepackaged salads and sandwiches after 26 people were infected with a strain of E. coli.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Glass Onion Catering, a subsidiary of Atherstone Foods in Richmond, Calif., has recalled approximately 181,620 pounds of ready-to-eat salads and sandwich wraps because the fully-cooked chicken and ham may be contaminated with a strain of E. coli associated with diarrhea and kidney damage.

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8 States Affected

The recall involves all salads and sandwiches with a “best buy” date range of Sept. 23 to Nov. 14. The food items were shipped to distribution centers intended for Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington, and retailers Walgreens, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s.

Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began monitoring illnesses related the strand of E. coli O157:H7 late last month. Twenty-six illnesses were traced back to grilled chicken salads produced by Glass Onion, the USDA reported.

Specific items recalled include Trader Joe's Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken, delish California style grilled chicken salad, Atherstone Fine Foods Southwestern Style White Chicken Wrap with Chimichurri Sauce, and others. For a full list of all of the products involved in the recall, visit the USDA’s website.

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This particular strain of E. coli is rare in poultry, but can cause particularly troublesome symptoms, including bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain, two to eight days after ingestion. While most healthy individuals recover after a week, some can develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a kind of kidney failure.

Children under five years old and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to HUS. Those who show symptoms of easy bruising, decreased urine output, and pale skin should seek emergency medical care because HUS can be fatal.

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More Ham and Chicken Recalls

Earlier this month, Reser’s Fine Foods, a Topeka, Kan.-based food manufacturer, expanded a recall of more than 22,800 pounds of food because of possible contamination by Listeria monocytogenes, another type of potentially fatal bacteria.

The recall involved salads, canned beans, meats, and other products with a “use by” date of Nov. 3. The contamination was discovered by Canadian authorities.

Those products included some deli meats sold under Kroger, Save-A-Lot, Sysco, and Wal-Mart name brands. To learn more about that recall, visit the FDA’s listing here.

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