July 10, 2020

Farm Rich E. coli Outbreak Ends

The E. coli outbreak linked to frozen Farm Rich products has ended after sickening 35 people in 19 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  However, because the recalled products have a long shelf life, some consumers may still have them in their freezers and should not eat them, the agency cautions.

E. coli O157:H7 HUSLaboratory testing on Farm Rich products from patients’ homes established that Farm Rich brand frozen food products were the source of this outbreak. Rich Products issued an expanded recall in early April  to include all  products under the brand names Farm Rich, Market Day, and Schwan’s that were manufactured at its Waycross, Georgia plant between July 1, 2011 and March 29, 2013. The recalled products have “best by” dates ranging from January 1, 2013 to September 29, 2014.

The CDC has declared the outbreak over because no new cases have been identified since mid-April. By state the case count for this outbreak is as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (1), Colorado (1), Florida (2), Illinois (2), Indiana (2), Michigan (3), Mississippi (1), Missouri (1), New York (4), Ohio (6), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (3), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2).

Eighty two percent of those infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) were 21 years of age or younger. Thirty one percent of those sickened required hospitalization and two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious, sometimes life-threatening condition that develops after some E.coli infections.

Each year, an estimated 265,000 Americans are diagnosed with STEC infections. The E.coli strain O157 causes about 36 percent of all STEC of infections, the rest are caused by non-O157 STEC including O121, the strain responsible for this outbreak.


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