ATLANTA – A total of 32 people were sickened by an outbreak strain of E. coli O121 linked to Farm Rich brand frozen food products, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control reported April 26.
Reports of infections have come from 18 states. Nine people have been hospitalized and two developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. However no deaths have been reported. The five new cases were reported from California (1), Colorado (1), Florida (2) and Ohio (1), according to CDC.
Public health officials identified the outbreak strain of STEC O121 in two different Farm Rich brand frozen products collected from the homes of two infected persons. The Outbreaks Section of the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service Eastern Laboratory identified the outbreak strain from individually wrapped Farm Rich brand frozen mini-pizza slices collected from an infected person’s home in Texas. Additionally, the New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center Laboratory, identified the outbreak strain from an opened package of Farm Rich brand frozen chicken quesadillas.
On April 4, Rich Products Corp., which manufactured the product, expanded its voluntary recall to include all products made at its Waycross, Ga. plant. This included the company's Farm Rich, Market Day and Schwan's brand frozen food products produced between July 1, 2011, and March 29, 2013. The expanded recall was in addition to products recalled on March 28, totaling 10.5 million lbs. of product. The affected products were distributed nationwide to retail stores and select food service distribution customers.