September 25, 2018

California Hit Hard by I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter E. coli Outbreak

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) warned consumers, especially children, not to eat I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter or granola coated with SoyNut Butter, because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. The CDPH, along with the CDC and FDA, are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli infections linked to those products.

E. coli bacteria 2

As of March 2, 2017, 12 patients have been identified in this outbreak. Four of those patients live in California. Most of the patients in this outbreak have been children, which explains why the hospitalization rate and the percentage of patients with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) have been so high. Six of the twelve patients have been hospitalized. Four of them have developed HUS.

All four California patients reported eating I.M. Healthy brand Creamy SoyNut Butter the week before they got sick. Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer, said in a statement, “Consumers who purchased Creamy SoyNut Butter or coated granola should dispose of the product immediately, even if it was already eaten and didn’t cause illness.”

While this investigation is ongoing, consumers should not eat any I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter varieties and sizes, or granola coated with SoyNut Butter, until additional information about the products, including lot numbers, are confirmed. These products have a shelf life of two years, so consumers will have them in their homes.

The symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include severe and painful stomach and abdominal cramps, diarrhea that may be bloody or watery, vomiting, and a mild fever. People usually get sick three or four days after exposure to the bacteria. Most people get better within about a week, but some become so ill they must be hospitalized.

When young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems contract this infection, it can develop into a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome. In that syndrome, Shiga toxins produced by the bacteria destroy red blood cells. Those destroyed cells can clog the kidneys, causing damage and even kidney failure.

The symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, lethargy, pale skin, bleeding from the nose or mouth, and a skin rash. Anyone who is experiencing those symptoms should be taken to a doctor immediately. HUS can be life-threatening.

Bad Bug Law Team | Pritzker Law Firm

If you or a family member has been sickened with an E. coli infection or HUS after eating I.M. Healthy soy nut butter products, call our experienced attorneys for help.


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