September 20, 2018

E. coli from Spinach and Spring Mix Salad sold at Wegmans and Possibly Other Grocery Stores, New York Hit Hardest

What started as an E. coli outbreak in New York linked to Wegmans Spinach and Spring Mix bagged salad has spread to 4 other states, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia, according to a CDC report.  This Wegmans product (recalled on Nov. 2, 2012) was distributed to Wegmans stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

E. coli O157 OutbreakOutside of New York, all five (100%) of the ill persons interviewed told investigators that they ate several different brands of pre-packaged leafy greens that did not come from Wegmans. Because of this, investigations are ongoing to determine if other contaminated foods are also a source of illness in this outbreak.

Consumers may be wondering why the E. coli patients in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia are part of the New York Wegmans outbreak.  According to E. coli attorney Fred Pritzker, every E. coli outbreak has its own genetic fingerprint. This means that the specific E. coli bacteria that made the people sick have matching DNA that are unique to the outbreak, says Pritzker. Health officials find the genetic fingerprint of each E. coli isolate through pulsed-field gel electrophoreses (PFGE), a process extremely familiar to Pritzker, who is one of the few attorneys in the United States who practices extensively in the area of E. coli personal injury and wrongful death.

“When E. coli patients are sickened by E. coli bacteria with the same PFGE pattern, it means that they were sickened by a common source, generally food or water,” states Pritzker.

In this outbreak, the same PFGE pattern was found in E. coli bacteria from the 28 victims and in bags of Wegmans Spinach and Spring Mix salad, according to the CDC.  This is evidence that the Wegmans bagged salad caused at least some of the illnesses.  Investigators are still working on finding out which leafy green in the bagged salad caused the illness, where it was grown, and where it was processed. This will help determine how the 5 victims outside of New York became sick.

We welcome comments from readers regarding the outbreak and its source.

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