July 10, 2020

Fresh Express E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak Investigated by FDA

The new Fresh Express E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak that has sickened eight people in the Upper Midwest is being investigated by the FDA. The outbreak is linked to Fresh express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits both in the United States and in Canada.

Fresh Express E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak Investigated by FDA

The case count by state is Minnesota (4), North Dakota (1), and Wisconsin (3). Illness onset dates range from November 5, 2019 to November 15, 2019. Three people have been hospitalized because their illness is so severe. One person has developed hemolytic ureic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure that can develop after an E. coli infection.

The outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria that is found in these case patients is different from the outbreak strain of the large E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown in the Salinas, California growing region. That outbreak has sickened 102 people in 23 states.

But, the romaine lettuce in the Fresh Express salad kits eaten by some of those sickened may have included romaine from the Salinas growing region. The romaine and other ingredients in the product may have come from another growing region as well.

Authorities are investigating and conducting traceback of this product, which tracks the ingredients from the farm through processing to the consumer.

If you purchased a Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kit with the UPC number 0 71279 30906 4 and lot code beginning with the letter Z, along with a best before date up to and including 07DEC19, do not eat it. Throw the salad away in a sealed container inside a secure garbage can with a tight fitting lid, or take it back to the retailer for a full refund.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Noted food safety attorney Fred Pritzker said, “We certainly hope that growers and the government figure out exactly how and why these outbreaks occur. This is the second E. coli outbreak linked to salad this year.” You can contact Fred for help in his Minneapolis office by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

You should then clean out your refrigerator with a mild bleach solution consisting of one tablespoon liquid chlorine bleach to one gallon of warm water to help kill any remaining bacteria. Wash your hands well with soap and water after cleaning and after handling this salad kit.

The symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include a mild fever, possible nausea and vomiting, severe and very painful abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is usually bloody. The symptoms of an HUS infection include little urine output, pale skin, lethargy, small bruises, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible. They may be part of this Fresh Express E. coli O157:H7 outbreak.

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