Monday, November 30, 2015

Bagged Celery / Salad Items Recalled after Linked to E. coli in Costco Chicken Salad

UPDATE 12/8/15 - FDA was not able to culturally confirm the E. coli in the Taylor Farms Product that was associated with the Costco Chicken Salad Product.   While the PCR results were positive, the FDA was not able to isolate the organism and confirm that it was actually there (cultural confirmation).  So basically, certain genes were present, but the organism was not able to found.

Taylor Farms is recalling a number of celery and other bagged lettuce items after chopped celery those items were identified as the source of E. coli O157:H7 in the Costco chicken salad E. coli outbreak.  There have been at least 19 cases reported with two of those developing HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure).

Taylor Farms prepares these ready-to-eat salad items for retail as well as foodservice use.  Operations such as Costco use bagged chopped celery in their food preparation area rather than having to wash and chop their own celery.  Taylor Farms would be responsible for ensuring the safety of the items, often utilizing multiple wash steps with some type of sanitizer.

FDA Recall Notice
Recall: Firm Press Release
Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. Recalls Celery Products Because Of Possible Health Risk

For Immediate Release
November 26, 2015
Contact  Consumers  Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc.  (209) 830-3141

Firm Press Release

Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. of Tracy, CA, is recalling the products listed below because they may include celery which could potentially contain E. coli 0157:H7. The products listed below are being recalled out of an abundance of caution due to a Celery and Onion Diced Blend testing positive for E. coli 0157:H7 in a sample taken by the Montana Department of Health. The Celery and Onion Diced Blend tested by the state of Montana was used in a Costco Rotisserie Chicken Salad that has been linked to a multi-state E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak.

Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a bacterium that causes a diarrheal illness often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.
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USA Today
Costco E. coli outbreak related to vegetables in chicken salad

Liz Szabo, USA TODAY 3:47 p.m. EST November 26, 2015

The E. coli outbreak traced to Costco chicken salads appears to have been caused by vegetables in the salad, rather than the chicken itself, according to company officials.

Tests performed by the Food and Drug Administration and Montana health officials traced the E. coli to an onion and celery mix, rather than the rotisserie chicken itself, Craig Wilson, Costco's vice president of food safety and quality assurance, told USA TODAY. Health officials are performing additional tests to confirm this link.

The vegetables came from Taylor Farms in Salinas, Calif. USA TODAY was not able to reach Taylor Farms for comment on Thanksgiving.

Nineteen people in seven states have been sickened in the outbreak of E. coli 0157, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Five victims were hospitalized and two developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. Victims are from Montana, Washington, California, Colorado, Utah, Missouri and Virginia.

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