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3 million pounds of frozen pizza, snacks recalled in rare E. coli outbreak

Posted by on Apr. 5, 2013 at 8:56 AM
  • 38 Replies


3 million pounds of frozen pizza, snacks recalled in rare E. coli outbreak

A New York snack food maker is recalling about 3 million pounds of frozen pizza, mozzarella bites, Philly cheese steaks and other products linked to a rare and potentially dangerous outbreak of E. coli poisoning. 

Rich Products Corp. of Buffalo, N.Y., is pulling all products manufactured at its Waycross, Ga., plant. The  snacks have best buy dates from Jan. 1 2013 through Sept. 29, 2014, according to a press release. For a full list of products, click here.

The foods may be contaminated with the bacterium E. coli O121, which already has sickened 24 people in 15 states who ate certain Farm Rich and Market Day frozen chicken quesadillas, pizza slices and other snack foods. Seven people have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, many more people may have been made ill by the products without knowing it because of complexities involved in identifying  E. coli O121, a strain that can be just as dangerous as the better-known E. coli O157:H7 frequently tied to outbreaks caused by hamburger.

The Thursday announcement expands a March 28 recall of 196,222 pounds of Farm Rich brand frozen chicken quesadillas and other frozen mini meals and snack items because they could be contaminated with E. coli O121.

The strain is among a potentially lethal group of bacteria known as Shiga-toxin producing E. coli or STECs. The bacteria, which include E. coli O157, create poisons that can lead to severe illness and disease, including bloody diarrhea, kidney failure and death.

In 2011, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials banned E. coli O121 and five other strains -- known as “the big six” -- from the nation’s beef supply. This outbreak is the first time Food Safety and Inspection Service officials have recalled products potentially tainted with E. coli O121.

The bacteria are tough to identify in outbreaks because clinical laboratories typically test only for the E. coli O157 strains. To detect the other strains, labs must screen for the presence of Shiga toxins and then send positive samples to public health laboratories to find any non-E. coli O157 STECs.

The strain involved in this outbreak is so rare, its genetic fingerprint has been seen less than 30 times in PulseNet, the CDC’s network of laboratories that track bacteria involved in foodborne illness.

The New York state Department of Health identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O121 in an opened package of Farm Rich brand frozen mini chicken and cheese quesadillas from an ill person’s home, the CDC said.

People usually become sick from Shiga-toxin producing E. coli within two to eight days after eating contaminated food.  Symptoms include bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Most people recover within a week, but others can become severely ill with a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which causes kidney failure.

Children and the elderly are most vulnerable to the worst effects of the illness.


by on Apr. 5, 2013 at 8:56 AM
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Replies (1-10):
MamaJane
by Jane:) on Apr. 5, 2013 at 8:59 AM
Oh this makes me sick reading this!

We bought some farm fresh snacks for the Super Bowl. Blech!
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BeachMommy07
by on Apr. 5, 2013 at 9:01 AM


Quoting MamaJane:

Oh this makes me sick reading this!

We bought some farm fresh snacks for the Super Bowl. Blech!

I posted on FB too, I know they are such a popular product. It's a lethal strain..


OliviaW.
by on Apr. 5, 2013 at 9:02 AM
2 moms liked this
That is why I don't buy frozen foods like that.
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BeachMommy07
by on Apr. 5, 2013 at 9:03 AM


Quoting OliviaW.:

That is why I don't buy frozen foods like that.

me too


lizzig
by Ruby Member on Apr. 5, 2013 at 9:35 AM

 oh that's not good.  we have the stuffed crust pizza dippers at school.  guess i know what i'll be doing when i go back to work on monday!

Life.Happens
by on Apr. 5, 2013 at 9:41 AM
2 moms liked this

 Good thing we don't buy that crap.

othermom
by Ruby Member on Apr. 5, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Scary. Thanks for posting

SweetLuci
by Luci on Apr. 5, 2013 at 9:45 AM

 I try not to buy processed foods, takes only a few minutes longer to make your own and freeze them, much healthier-no chemicals, and safer too.

critter_boo
by Sarah on Apr. 5, 2013 at 10:39 AM
Oh yuck
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Leelee1008
by Alicia on Apr. 5, 2013 at 10:56 AM

I actually have a bag of the quesadillas in my freezer. Exactly what are we supposed to do with them?

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