Investigation of E. coli outbreak continues

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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ATLANTA – The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta reported a total of 24 people were infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O121.

According to the CDC, 78 percent of the people are 21 years old or younger, seven of them were hospitalized. One person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, but no deaths have been reported.

Current information indicates that consumption of frozen food products made by Rich Products Corp., Buffalo, NY, is the likely source of infection, CDC said. The New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center Laboratory, identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O121 in an open package of Farm Rich brand frozen chicken quesadillas from an ill person’s home. The company recalled approximately 196,000 lbs. of frozen chicken quesadilla and other frozen mini-meals and snacks.

“Rich Products has been informed by the USDA that Farm Rich Mini Quesadillas, Farm Rich Philly Cheese Steaks, Farm Rich Mini Pizza Slices and Farm Rich Mozzarella Bites produced from Nov. 12-19, 2012 may be contaminated with E. Coli,” the company said in a statement on the Farm Rich web site. “Please note, each of our product packages contain cooking instructions that, if followed, will effectively destroy any E. Coli bacteria. These preparation instructions have been validated following the Grocery Manufacturers Association industry protocol to ensure food safety.

“Consumer safety is our number one priority and we are voluntarily recalling these products effective immediately,” the company added.

Rich Products is advising consumers to throw away affected products. Consumers can receive a replacement product and or a refund.

The outbreak has reached 15 states, according to CDC. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), Illinois (1), Indiana (2), Michigan (2), Mississippi (1), New York (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (3), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2).

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