E. Coli Scare Leads to Recalls

E coli bacteria contamination leads to recalls of prepackaged products from two California companies

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Certain types of the bacteria E. coli live in our intestines without causing trouble or harm. But other strains can cause serious illness. Two related California companies have recalled pre-packaged salads and wraps due to concerns about this type of the bacteria.

One recall involves products with chicken and ham and has been tied to 26 illnesses. The other recall involves vegetarian products and has not been tied to any illnesses.

Consumers are encouraged to check labels of products that might be involved in the recalls.

"Check your refrigerator for recalled products."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), certain types of the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) can cause infections with symptoms like stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. These infections are often mild, but can sometimes develop into severe and life-threatening infections, CDC reported.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Glass Onion Catering out of Richmond, California has recalled approximately 181,620 pounds of products due to possible E. coli contamination.

The recalled Glass Onion Catering products are pre-packaged salads and sandwich wraps containing cooked chicken and ham. Products include smoked ham and cheese wraps, chicken Ceasar wraps and chopped salad with chicken.

According to FSIS, a cluster of patients in California became ill with E. coli towards the end of October, and a connection was discovered between the illnesses and pre-packaged salads with grilled chicken. The investigation led the authorities to Glass Onion Catering and sparked the recall.

FSIS reported that 26 patients in three states have now been identified as ill. The patients became sick between September 29 and October 26.

The products were produced between September 23 and November 6 and have the establishment number “P-34221” printed inside the USDA mark of inspection on the labels, FSIS reported. The products were shipped to distribution centers for sale in retail establishments in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced another recall, this one from Atherstone Foods, Inc., also of Richmond, California, and related to Glass Onion Catering. Atherstone Foods has also recalled ready-to-eat salads and wraps due to E. coli concerns.

The Atherstone Foods products include pasta and noodle salads, vegetarian wraps and Greek and Southwestern salads distributed in Northern California. The FDA noted that no illnesses have been reported in connection to the Atherstone Foods recall.

Both investigations are still underway and more information is likely to develop.

The CDC reported around 5 to 10 percent of E. coli infections develop into a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) that requires hospitalization.

"Clues that a person is developing HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids," CDC explained.

Recalled products should be discarded or returned to retail stores.

Review Date: 
November 12, 2013
Last Updated:
November 12, 2013