December 9, 2022

Earth Grown Frozen Falafel E. coli Outbreak Sickens 20 in 6 States

An Earth Grown frozen Falafel E. coli O121 outbreak has sickened at least 20 people in six states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Five people have been hospitalized because they are so sick. A recall for two kinds of that falafel has been issued. These products were sold exclusively at Aldi stores.

Earth Grown Frozen Falafel E. coli Outbreak Sickens 20 in 6 States

The patient case count by state is: Florida (2), Iowa (1), Kansas (1), Michigan (11), Ohio (1), and Wisconsin (4). Illness onset dates range from July 13, 2022 to September 13, 2022. The patient age range is from less than one to 71 years. Of 14 people who gave information to investigators, five have been hospitalized. One person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure.

E. coli O121 one of the Big Six non-O157 strains of this pathogen. It is a Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli bacteria (STEC). It produces Shiga toxins that damage the intestinal walls. If the bacteria gets into the bloodstream, it kills red blood cells, which travel to the kidneys and cause damage to that organ.

State and local public health officials are interviewing patients about the foods they ate before they got sick. Of the 18 people interviewed, 15 said they shopped at Aldi stores. Among those Aldi shoppers, six said they ate Earth Grown frozen falafel purchased from that grocery store chain the week before they starting feeling ill.

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Food Safety Lawyer and Food Poisoning Bulletin Publisher Eric Hageman

Noted food safety attorney Eric Hageman, who has successfully represented many clients in E. coli outbreaks, said, “No one should get sick just because they bought a product from a grocery store. We hope that this outbreak does not grow now that consumers have this information.”

Public health investigators are using PulseNet to identify people who are part of htjs outbreak. Whole genome sequencing conducted on patient isolate samples found that they are closely related genetically. That means that it’s likely that the patients got sick from eating the same food.

On October 7, 2022, Cuisine Innovations of Lakewood, New Jersey recalled Earth Grown Vegan Traditional Falafel and Garlic & Herb Falafel. Cuisine Innovations is the sole supplier of Earth Grown frozen falafel sold at Aldi stores. Please check your freezer to see if you bought these items. If you did, do not eat them; throw them away or take them back to Aldi for a refund.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection nclude severe and painful stomach and abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is often bloody and/or watery, and a mild fever. These symptoms usually begin a few days up to a week, after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria.

The symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, easy bruising, lethargy, skin paleness, a skin rash, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. If anyone is experiencing these symptoms, they should seek medical attention immediately because HUS can cause kidney failure, strokes, seizures, and death.

If you have eaten those recalled products and have been sick with the symptoms of a STEC infection, see your doctor. You may be  part of this Earth Grown frozen falafel E. coli outbreak.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been diagnosed with a Cyclospora infection from contaminated food, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors.

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