Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc., a company based in Tracy, CA, is recalling numerous products that may contain E. coli 0157:H7. The products are being recalled following Montana Department of Health (MDH) testing that revealed that a sample of Taylor Farms Pacific’s “Celery and Onion Diced Blend” tested positive for the potentially deadly bacteria. The Celery and Onion Diced Blend had been used in a Costco Rotisserie Chicken Salad, which was among the common foods in an outbreak that has been linked to at least 19 serious illnesses in seven states. The victims were identified in Montana (6), Utah (5), Colorado (4), and in California, Missouri, Virginia and Washington states. Since then the recall has expanded beyond the Celery and Onion Diced Blend sold at Costco to include at least 71 products that were made with the potentially contaminated celery and sold at 7-11, Raleys, Savemart, Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Starbucks, Target, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and included such products as Thai-style salads, pre-packaged dinners, salad mixes, traditional holiday foods, and wraps, this according to the FDA.
Outbreak First Identified in October: 5 Hospitalized, One Suffers HUS
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first victim became systematic on Oct. 6, with the other 19 identified thereafter, additional victims are still likely to be identified as the investigation continues. Among the victims identified so far, they range in age from 5 to 84, this according to the CDC. Among the currently identified victims, as many as 7 have been hospitalized, and according to reports, two of these may be suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, a dangerous condition that can lead to kidney failure and can be life threatening.
Taylor Farms Celery Linked to E. Coli: Costco Cooperates in Recall and Furnishes Shopper Histories to CDC
Costco, based in Issaquah, Washington, immediately pulled the suspect chicken salad off store shelves and posted signs warning potential victims of the recall. It also furnished the CDC with detailed purchase histories, which is a developing practice following an outbreak, to assist the CDC in tracking potential victims. Costco will also use this information to notify consumers who purchased the recalled product.
Raley’s also announced it would be recalling a number of products containing celery and onions, including Raley’s tuna salad kit, Raley’s Asian style pasta, blue cheese potato salad, buffalo roasted cauliflower, Raley’s to go country potato salad, Raley’s to go country macaroni salad, Raley’s all natural crunchy vegetable salad, curry chicken salad, Golden State salad, fully loaded potato salad, Chinese chicken salad, chicken recovery salad kit, Raley’s rotisserie chicken salad, Raley’s seafood salad kit, Thanksgiving salad, Raley’s traditional cornbread stuffing, Raley’s garden party vegetable tray, Raley’s to-go vegetable and ranch tray, and Raley’s old fashioned chicken salad.
Raley’s says each of these will have a “use by” date between Nov. 20 to Dec. 6.
In all, the recall of products made with Taylor Farms Celery Linked to E. Coli were sold in at least these states: California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Uah, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Illinois, Georgia, North and South Dakota, Hawaii, Alaska, Wyoming, and Nebraska.
According to Ron Simon, a national food safety lawyer, “in today’s global economy, one of the unfortunate truths is that food products, like the celery and onion mix at issue here, are often spread so quickly that they infect hundreds of products and affect thousands of consumers before the first illness is identified by the CDC and FDA. This is why it is so important for these large firms to put into place careful screening processes for the foods they sell.”