Calif. company recalls prepackaged salad, sandwich over E. coli

10:32 PM, Nov 11, 2013   |    comments
A prepackaged lettuce mix (Photo: Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY)
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A toxin-producing strain of E. coli linked to a California company has forced the recall of more than 90 tons of prepackaged salads and sandwich wraps, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Glass Onion Catering in Richmond, Calif., is recalling approximately 181,620 pounds of ready-to-eat salads and wrap products with fully cooked chicken and ham that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service said. The products have been linked to 26 ill patients in three states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, with the majority in California.

A full list of recalled products, some packaged under the name Atherstone Fine Foods, is available on Food and Drug Administration's website.

The products were produced between Sept. 23 and Nov. 6 and shipped to distributions centers intended for retail sale in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington, the USDA said. Many of the products are sold by Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Walgreens, the FDA said.

USDA was notified by the Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 6 that California authorities had reported issues consuming pre-packaged salads with grilled chicken. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FDA and state authorities have linked the E. coli strain to 26 patients in three states.

E. coli O157:H7 is "uncommon" to find it in chicken, USDA said in its release.

"There have been some rare isolations of O157 reported but I am not aware of outbreaks," said Trevor Suslow, a food safety expert at the University of California, Davis. "From the outset it seems a bit more plausible that it may be a component ingredient that is common to all these salads."

E. coli O157:H7 can cause diarrhea, often bloody, and abdominal cramps. While most people recover within a week, in some cases it can cause a type of failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome which is very dangerous. In this outbreak more than 25% of people were hospitalized and two developed the syndrome, CDC said. No deaths have been reported.

By John Bacon

USA Today

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