September 28, 2021

Cake Mix E. coli Outbreak Sickens 16 in Twelve States; One HUS Case

A cake mix E. coli outbreak has been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sixteen people in twelve states are sick. Seven people have been hospitalized.

Cake Mix E. coli Outbreak Sickens 16 in Seven States; One HUS Case

The patient case count by state is: Illinois (2), Indiana (1), Iowa (2), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Nebraska (2), Ohio (2), Oregon (1), South Carolina (1), Utah (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1). The patient age range is from 2 t0 73 years, with a median age of 13. The age range for outbreaks linked to baking ingredients usually skews young; 75% of children in this outbreak are under the age of 18.

The hospitalization rate is 44%. That is high for an E. coli outbreak, which is usually around 20%. And one person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. The true number of illnesses in this outbreak is likely much higher than this number, since some people do not seek medical care and are not tested, and because recent illnesses may not have been reported yet.

Cake Batter

This outbreak has been on the FDA’s Core Investigation Outbreak Table for a few weeks, but this is the first time any actionable steps have been announced for consumers. A specific product has not yet been identified. On site inspection has been initiated, along with traceback. The FDA is using purchase records from stores where ill persons shopped to try to determine a common cake mix brand or production facility.

Of the eight people sickened in this cake mix E. coli outbreak who have been interviewed by the government, six, or 75%, said they ate or tasted raw batter made with a cake mix before they got sick. Several varieties and brands of cake mix were purchased by these patients.

The PulseNet system is being used to identify people who may be part of this outbreak. Whole genome sequencing has proved that bacteria from patient isolates are closely related genetically, which means they likely got sick from eating the same food.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

Noted food safety lawyer Fred Pritzker, who has represented many clients in E. coli and HUS lawsuits, said, “No food sold in the United States should be contaminated with enough bacteria to make someone sick. And as in many E. coli outbreaks, it’s tragic that young children are suffering because of this contamination.”

The CDC is advising people not to eat raw cake batter or dough, whether it’s made from a mix or homemade. We don’t know if flour is responsible for this outbreak, but that raw agricultural product has been contaminated with E. coli bacteria sporadically over the years, as evidenced by outbreaks and recalls.

When you are baking and cooking, do not taste any raw cake batter or dough. Use care when handling flour and raw eggs, the two ingredients most likely to be contaminated. Never let children eat raw batter, and do not make milkshakes from uncooked cake mix, flour, or raw eggs.

Remember that bacteria are only destroyed by heat. And wash countertops, utensils, and your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling cake mix, flour, and raw eggs.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include a mild fever, vomiting, severe and painful stomach and abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is likely bloody. Symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, easy bruising, pale skin, lethargy, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible because they may be part of this cake mix E. coli outbreak.

The Food Poisoning Attorneys At Pritzker Hageman 1-888-377-8900

If you or a loved one have been sickened with an E. coli infection or HUS after eating cake mix or batter made with cake mix, please contact our experienced lawyers for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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